Pepperdine Employees Turned Away at Simi Valley Vaccine Clinic

A map showing the drive from Pepperdine to the Simi Valley clinic

Although Malibu is tucked into a corner of Ventura County, the city—and institutions within it, like Pepperdine—remains solidly within LA County’s jurisdiction. That fact has been especially apparent during the coronavirus pandemic, from beach closures to high school athletics, and most recently during vaccination events such as a Simi Valley clinic last weekend. 

On Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28, the health group Adventist Health of Simi Valley and the Simi Valley Unified School District organized a vaccine clinic for local educators. Those invited included employees of California Lutheran University, the Thousand Oaks private college that lies 30 minutes north of Malibu, among other schools. 

According to a statement from Karin Grennan, a California Lutheran representative, the clinic and school district shared a registration link for the clinic with all eligible educators, instructing the link recipients not to share it with others.

“It appears, however, that the link may have been shared with higher education colleagues outside of Ventura County,” Grennan wrote in a statement. 

According to Grennan, clinic officials reported that “a small number of higher education employees outside the service county” stood in line to see if they could be vaccinated. None were. 

“At this point in time it is not clear who shared the link with whom,” Grennan wrote. Grennan was likely alluding to the multiple Pepperdine employees who showed up, as confirmed in a separate statement from Pepperdine representative Alex Forero. 

Forero wrote in an email to The Malibu Times that over the weekend, Pepperdine administration learned that a small number of their employees attempted to attend the vaccination clinic and were turned away. 

“At least one of those employees has a family member employed by CLU,” Forero wrote, also noting that the Malibu university and the Thousand Oaks one have a strong relationship between their respective leaderships.   

“As the education sector is now included in the authorized vaccine distribution tiers in Los Angeles County, Pepperdine has encouraged employees to make an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in their county utilizing authorized state and county resources,” Forero concluded.

Forero said that Pepperdine had developed comprehensive COVID-19 vaccine plans, including making the school’s health center into a vaccine distribution site if county allowances and vaccine supply become available, although there’s no specific date when that might occur. Forero said the university had also explored partnerships with healthcare facilities. 

Elsewhere in Malibu, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has just begun vaccinating its educators. Teachers and staff began receiving vaccines on Monday, March 1, through a partnership with Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, district spokespeople said in a statement. 

Staff members working on campus currently or who will return when more in-person education resumes on March 15 are first in line for the shot, according to the statement. The rest of the district’s staff—which totals around 2,000—will be “cycled” through appointments, which are available daily, until the group is totally vaccinated. And those staff over age 65 or those who are school nurses have already been vaccinated, having qualified under earlier state regulations. 

SMMUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Mark Kelly said the district encouraged staff to seek vaccinations by any means possible, to expedite the process. 

“We are pleased to have St. Johns as our partner to ensure our teachers and staff who wish to be vaccinated are vaccinated over the next few weeks,” he added in the statement.

The district is hoping to bring grades TK-5 back on campus for in-person instruction beginning the week of March 15, and said it would be submitting the required safety plan to the health department by Tuesday, March 2.