The University of the Pacific seal. The main campus is located in Stockton Calif. (Photo courtesy of the University of the Pacific)

University of the Pacific announced Thursday it is among the first universities in the state to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines under Blue Shield of California and plans to fully vaccinate every student, faculty and staff member enrolled at any of UOP’s three campuses as well as its surrounding communities.

“As the only Northern California private university with a school of health sciences, a dental school and pharmacy school, Pacific is uniquely positioned to help widen distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and work towards making our entire communities safer,” said Maria Pallavicini, university provost and head of the school’s COVID-19 council.

Beginning Saturday and Sunday, UOP will have first-dose clinics that are open to residents of San Joaquin County who are 16 and older. Anyone under 18 years of age must arrive with a parent or guardian and appointments can be found online on the University of the Pacific’s website at https://www.pacific.edu/covid-19-update/vaccinations. Clinics are scheduled from May to June at the Stockton campus, located at 3601 Pacific Ave.

Additionally, starting July 17, UOP students will return back to campus as well as residential living for a five-week summer session where another vaccination event will also be held to vaccinate more students and faculty returning to campus.

“I would just encourage everyone to educate themselves if they feel any hesitation about getting the vaccine,” said Scout Cooper-Wilson, Associated Students of the University of the Pacific president. “I believe that it’s very important and necessary. We all want to be back on campus so badly and if getting the vaccine is what will do that, I just hope that everyone who can get vaccinated will.”

UOP said the partnership with Blue Shield allows the university access to a streamlined and consistent amount of vaccine doses in order to distribute vaccinations to everyone.

The university will be requesting and storing Pfizer doses in specialized freezers that its pharmacy already had.

Along with the main campus in Stockton, UOP also has campuses in San Francisco and Sacramento, and will continue to issue vaccinations to campus and community members in San Francisco. The university plans on opening clinics in Sacramento in collaboration with UOP’s physician assistant studies students soon.

The school’s faculty and students have administered more than 7,500 COVID-19 vaccines during more than a dozen clinics in Stockton and San Francisco as of this week.