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UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.

Dec. 22 - COVID boosters required, return-to-campus instructions

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Happy Zotdays!

Welcome to our last UCI Digest before the winter break. We will return Jan. 3. In the meantime, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday break.


COVID-19 boosters are required.

COVID boosters required by Jan. 31

As shared in President Drake’s letterUniversity of California policy requires students, faculty and staff to keep their COVID-19 vaccination status up-to-date. This includes boosters for those who are eligible. To comply with this policy, UCI is requiring boosters for all eligible individuals – students and employees – by Jan. 31, 2022. Those who are eligible and not boosted by this date will be considered non-compliant with the university’s vaccination policy. Those who are not yet eligible to be boosted by Jan. 31 will have two weeks after their eligibility to comply. As announced at last Thursday’s Health Affairs Town Hall and mentioned in the Chancellor’s message, students and employees are encouraged to upload their record as soon as possible.

Student Record Upload

Employee Record Upload

Another reason to get a booster: a chance at a $50 Amazon gift card

In addition to enjoying stronger protection against COVID-19, students and employees who receive booster shots and upload their verification record by Friday, Jan. 7, will be entered into a drawing to win one of 100 $50 Amazon gift cards. (Those who have already uploaded their booster record, or who were boosted through Student Health or Occupational Health, are automatically eligible for the drawing.)

Information for staff returning to campus after winter break

As a follow-up to Chancellor Gillman’s Tuesday Zotmail regarding winter instruction, Ramona Agrela, vice chancellor and chief human resources officer, confirms that the campus will resume normal operations on Monday, Jan. 3. While instruction will be remote for the first two weeks of winter quarter, the campus will remain fully operational. This means that staff will return to their normal work schedule on Jan. 3 unless modified by the appropriate dean, vice chancellor or unit head. You can help UCI return to our current standards of operation as quickly as possible.

Message for students on steps to take when winter instruction begins on Jan. 3

Willie L. Banks Jr., vice chancellor, Student Affairs, is sharing additional details regarding plans for returning to the campus in Winter 2022. These plans, which are subject to change depending on the public health status of the campus community and county, involve remote learning from Jan. 3-14, COVID testing, booster shots, campus services, operations and more.


Assistant clinical professor provides context for the omicron variant

During a Dec. 17 community information session co-hosted by the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and the CHOC Pharmacy Department, Keri Hurley Kim, assistant clinical professor of pharmaceutical sciences, discussed the potential severity of omicron and the effectiveness of vaccines.

UCI experts address mental health challenges in Hispanic communities

In partnership with the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Alberto Sandoval, director of community & government relations, introduced a panel of experts that included moderator Dr. Michael J. Stamos, dean of the School of Medicine, and panelists Dr. José Mayorga, assistant clinical professor, family medicine, and Dr. Charles Vega, clinical professor, family medicine, associate dean, School of Medicine, and director, Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community.


Rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations concerns state health experts

For every 100,000 residents, the San Francisco Bay Area has five people hospitalized with COVID-19, while Orange County’s rate is six and L.A. County’s is seven. Some state officials and health experts are concerned when the rate is five or greater.

How effective are boosters against omicron?

Antibody levels were 25 times higher after Pfizer’s extra shot and 37 times higher after Moderna’s. But even with a booster, protection against an omicron infection appeared about 20% less than protection against the delta variant.

FDA authorizes Pfizer pill to treat COVID in patients as young as 12

The Food and Drug Administration today authorized Paxlovid, a pill developed and made by Pfizer, as a treatment for COVID-19, a significant step in the battle against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The drug was authorized for use in people as young as 12 so long as they weigh at least 88 pounds.

Long COVID patients increasingly reporting vibrations and tremors

Estimated to be 10% to 30% of people who have had the coronavirus, long COVID patients experience a range of symptoms including fatigue, cognitive problems, shortness of breath and sensory issues, such as numbness and tingling. Internal buzzing sensations and external shaking, which have historically been less common, are gaining more attention among advocates and doctors.


Winter 2022 instruction begins
Monday, Jan. 3, all day (sponsored by Office of the Chancellor)

Winter Anteater Involvement Fair: Anteaters Way Home
Tuesday, Jan. 4, 11 a.m. (sponsored by Office of Campus Organizations & Volunteer Programs)

Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.


Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.

Take a slice out of civic health this holiday season

The Hill, Dec. 21
Author: Bernadette Boden-Albala, director and founding dean, Program in Public Health

Has COVID destroyed our attention spans?

USA Today, Dec. 22
Cited: Keiland Cooper, graduate student in neurobiology and behavior

COVID booster jab aftercare: Can you drink alcohol and exercise after vaccine?

The Mirror, Dec. 17
Cited: Ilhem Messaoudi, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry and director of the Center for Virus Research


Little birdie hopes that you are happy.

Little birdie hopes that you are happy.

Alltruism (“all true”) is a project supported by the Barnes & Noble Scholarship that aims to create connections through community, compassion and the creative arts. The initiative was part of The Alltruism Project, and more letters can be found on Instagram.

#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.


22 new campus cases

Four employees and 18 students tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.

Potential workplace exposure

UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.

For COVID-19 questions

UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates

UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health

UCI Health COVID-19 FAQs

UCI Coronavirus Response Center - available at covid19@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-9918

Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services - assistance with vaccines and vaccine uploads; available at contacttracing@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-2300

Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19

For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.