With guidance from faculty experts, Stanford Medicine prepares to deploy COVID-19 vaccine | News Center

Stanford Medicine expects to receive the first shipment of a coronavirus vaccine on Dec. 18 and start inoculating health care workers the next day.

[Update: The vaccine arrived Dec. 17; vaccinations are set to begin Dec. 18.]

The plan to vaccinate health care workers first aligns with federal recommendations shaped by two national committees whose members include Stanford Medicine faculty.

“Having a workforce that’s vaccinated and well will protect the community,” said Lisa Schilling, RN, MPH, vice president of quality, patient safety and clinical effectiveness at Stanford Health Care. “If the workforce gets sick, anybody who is ill or injured in the community will not have care because there won’t be enough workers.”

Schilling, who is co-chair with Stanley Deresinski, MD, clinical professor of medicine, of Stanford Medicine’s vaccine planning committee, said Stanford is expected to receive an initial vaccine delivery of 3,900 doses, and possibly as many or more weekly after that. She said she anticipates that all Stanford Medicine health care workers will be vaccinated within two or three months. 

The vaccine can cause side effects, including flu-like symptoms, so vaccinations will be staggered to avoid staffing shortages that can result from health care workers feeling ill the day after they’re inoculated, Schilling said. It’s crucial that Stanford Medicine maintain adequate staffing levels for patient care, said David Magnus, PhD, director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, who is on the committee. 

“If you have all of these people from a single unit vaccinated together, you may wipe out all your critical personnel for the next few days,” he said.

In accordance with federal recommendations, the first Stanford health care workers to be vaccinated will be those who provide direct care and service to patients, those who are at the highest risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and those who have an elevated risk of complications from the disease.