Letters to the UMB Community

Vaccination Update Jan. 8

January 08, 2021

Dear UMB Community,

As you know, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) educates and employs many front-line workers, including those who are credentialed at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). This week, we opened the SMC Campus Center to support UMMC’s vaccination mission to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers.

Vaccines are a proven, safe, and effective way to combat this pandemic. Though the COVID-19 vaccines were developed relatively quickly, that does not mean that safety measures were skipped. These types of vaccines have been years in development for other infectious viruses. The mild side effects reported are normal, including injection-site pain, fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headaches, and chills. The risk of complications from receiving the vaccine is far less than the risk of getting COVID-19.

As I shared in my letter Monday, COVID-19 vaccines are distributed nationwide in a particular order based on frameworks developed by federal and state guidelines. Priority is given to individuals with the highest need for vaccination — which right now are health care workers and other select groups, such as law enforcement, firefighters, and nursing home residents and staff. Many of the doctors, nurses, and other health care providers at UMB are in that first group.

The University of Maryland Medical System has received thousands of doses of the vaccine from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). UMB followed UMMC and MDH guidance to classify our highest-risk individuals. We have taken special care to be responsible in classifying employees, as we must be ethical and equitable with the current limited supply of the vaccines.

I hope that you will consider doing your part to protect yourself and others by receiving the vaccination when it is made available to you. But please do not attempt to skip the line, and please be patient as priority guidance is changing constantly — in fact, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a revised state priority list Tuesday.

Although UMB is not in possession of vaccines nor responsible for the allocation of vaccines, next week we will share a UMB-specific registration link to ensure that everyone at UMB is properly classified in the event that vaccines become available for some or all at the University.

Again, I want to be clear that the University cannot guarantee that anyone at UMB will be vaccinated by virtue of completing the form. Instead, we want to be prepared if the opportunity becomes available. If you find that you have the opportunity to get the vaccine elsewhere, please do so. The more people who get vaccinated, the safer we will all be and the faster we can be rid of this terrible virus.

Early next week you’ll receive a link to register. The registration is intended only for the recipient of the email and should not be forwarded or shared with anyone else. The information collected will be protected and is solely for classifying priority.

I’m encouraged by the enthusiasm from this community of leaders about COVID-19 vaccines. Together, we can bring a message of hope to those in our communities by dispelling myths about the COVID-19 vaccines and inviting others to learn more about them. 

Stay healthy and safe.


Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS


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