Vaccine Distribution Communications (University of Texas System)

Megan Fletcher filed this request with the University of Texas System of Texas .
Multi Request Vaccine Distribution Communications
Est. Completion None
Status
In Litigation

Communications

From: Megan Fletcher


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

A copy of all communications between employees and administrators at the University of Texas System and the Texas Department of State Health Services concerning COVID-19 vaccine distribution and shipments since November 2020.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Megan Fletcher

From: University of Texas System

The University of Texas System has received your request for information and will respond in a timely manner as required by Section 552.221 of the Texas Government Code. System’s hours of normal operation are from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. If your request was submitted after business hours (after 5 pm but before midnight) it is considered received the next business day.

From: University of Texas System

Good Morning,

This letter relates to your below request for information to The University of Texas System ("UT System") seeking:

all communications between employees and administrators at the University of Texas System and the Texas Department of State Health Services concerning COVID-19 vaccine distribution and shipments since November 2020.

We require additional guidance in order to process your request. As written, your request requires a search of every UT System employees' correspondence for the last 5 months. Conducting this search for responsive information will be costly and time consuming. In an effort to expedite your request, please consider amending your request in the following ways:

1. Limit your request to UT System employees with in the Office of Health Affairs with "vice chancellor" in their titles, as that is the office most likely to have such correspondence. Specifically, Dr. John Zerwas, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, is one of three Chief Medical Advisors supporting Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt as Chief Medical Officer of the Governor's Strike Force.
2. Use the keywords "vaccine" and "distribution" or "shipment" to facilitate the search of email correspondence.

Amending your request as suggested will make the search more manageable and should significantly decrease the time and costs associated with your request.

Please note that if you do not respond to this request for clarification in writing within 61 days from the date of this letter, your request will be considered withdrawn. See TEX. GOV'T CODE § 552.222(d)-(e).

Without additional clarification from you, we are unable to process your request further. Upon receipt of your written clarification, we will review any responsive documents for release in light of any applicable exceptions under the Texas Public Information Act. We will respond to your clarification within a timely manner as required by law. See City of Dallas v. Abbott, 304 S.W.3d 380 (Tex. 2010).

Please send your clarification and/or narrowing by responding to this email. You may also reply in writing to the address in the signature line below.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this correspondence or would like to discuss other ways to fulfill your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Best,

Jennifer Burnett
Assistant General Counsel & Public Information Coordinator
Office of the General Counsel
The University of Texas System
210 West Seventh Street
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 579-5187
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From: Megan Fletcher

Hello,

Thank you for your response. Here is a list of email addresses to narrow the request, using keywords "vaccine," "distribution," "allocation," "shipment," and "eligibility."

jzerwas@utsystem.edu
dlakey@utsystem.edu
athomas@utsystem.edu
lcarruth@utsystem.edu
mmeeks@utsystem.edu

Thank you for your time.

Best,
Megan Fletcher
The Texas Observer

From: University of Texas System

Good Morning, Megan:

Thank you for working with me on this request. As I am in the process of reviewing the search results, I’ve found that there are approximately 33,000 pages of documents. Would you be willing to exclude from your request (1) calendar notification emails; (2) information made confidential by section 81.046 of the Health & Safety Code; and (3) information pertaining to the vaccination status of identified individuals? The calendar notifications reflect only the name of the meeting and whether it was accepted, declined, or cancelled. However, they include conference pin numbers, which will have to be manually redacted in accordance with section 552.136 of the Government Code. The information made confidential by section 81.046 consists of information related to COVID-19 cases. UT System has previously been ordered by the Attorney General to withhold the identical or similar information (see Open Records Letter Rulings 2020-26760; 2020-26041; 2020-26162; and 2020-25181). This information must also be manually redacted and accounts for the majority of the 33,000 pages. Vaccine status is medical information that is made confidential by section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with common-law privacy.

Please note that if you do not respond to this request for clarification in writing within 61 days from the date of this letter, your request will be considered withdrawn. See TEX. GOV'T CODE § 552.222(d)-(e). Without additional clarification from you, we are unable to process your request further. Upon receipt of your written clarification, we will review any responsive documents for release in light of any applicable exceptions under the Texas Public Information Act. We will respond to your clarification within a timely manner as required by law. See City of Dallas v. Abbott, 304 S.W.3d 380 (Tex. 2010).

Please send your clarification and/or narrowing by responding to this email. You may also reply in writing to the address in the signature line below.

Please feel free to give me a call if you’d like to discuss this further. I’m free today from 12:00-2:00 and any time tomorrow. Thank you!
Best,

Jennifer Burnett
Assistant General Counsel & Public Information Coordinator
Office of the General Counsel
The University of Texas System
210 West Seventh Street
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 579-5187
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From: Megan Fletcher

Hello Jennifer,

Thank you for your suggestions for narrowing this request. I agree — we can eliminate calendar notification requests, section 81.046 confidential information, and information on identified individuals' vaccine statuses.

Thank you so much,
Megan Fletcher
The Texas Observer

From: University of Texas System

Dear Megan Fletcher,

Attached, please find correspondence filed with the Attorney General's Office regarding your recent public information request to The University of Texas at System.

Sincerely,

Lance Willard
Senior Administrative Associate

Office of General Counsel
The University of Texas System
210 W. 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Office 512.499.4462 | Direct 512.499.4483 | Fax 512.499.4523 | E-mail lwillard@utsystem.edu<mailto:lwillard@utsystem.edu>

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This communication may be protected by the attorney/client privilege and may contain confidential information intended only for the person to whom it is addressed. If it has been sent to you in error, please reply to the sender that you have received the message in error and delete this message. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution, copying or other reproduction of this message is strictly prohibited.

From: University of Texas System

Dear Megan Fletcher,

Attached, please find additional correspondence filed with the Attorney General's Office regarding your recent public information request to The University of Texas System.

Sincerely,

Lance Willard
Senior Administrative Associate

Office of General Counsel
The University of Texas System
210 W. 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Office 512.499.4462 | Direct 512.499.4483 | Fax 512.499.4523 | E-mail lwillard@utsystem.edu<mailto:lwillard@utsystem.edu>

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**************************************************
This communication may be protected by the attorney/client privilege and may contain confidential information intended only for the person to whom it is addressed. If it has been sent to you in error, please reply to the sender that you have received the message in error and delete this message. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution, copying or other reproduction of this message is strictly prohibited.

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