December 7, 2020
It is encouraging that multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates are demonstrating high effectivity and may soon become publicly available. However, that must not stop our efforts to remain focused on protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19 during the holiday season.
UCF may serve as a mass vaccination site in the spring. We will encourage students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated in the interest of our community’s health and safety.
Decisions about timelines, prioritization and the type of vaccine will be made by the state of Florida. Due to limited supply, we can expect a scaled approach that will first prioritize the most vulnerable and those working in high-risk areas, followed by wider availability.
While the plan for distribution is under development, it is important to understand these facts:
- Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that people should feel confident COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, stating “I will take the vaccine. And I certainly will advise my family and friends when their turn comes, to take the vaccine.”
- The vaccine is intended to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms — such as fever — which are normal in the short-term and a sign of building immunity.
- It typically takes time for the body to build immunity after vaccination, which means it is possible to get COVID-19 just after vaccination because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
- People who have already had COVID-19 will still be advised to get a vaccine because public health experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again.
The CDC is sharing more information about COVID-19 vaccines, and UCF will provide updates about our campus vaccine program when we have new information to share.
While a vaccine gives us great hope, there will not be an immediate flip of the switch back to our pre-COVID lives. The leading vaccine contenders require two shots at least three weeks apart. Masks, physical distancing and other health precautions will be necessary until enough people are vaccinated to significantly suppress community infections.
As Student Health Services prepares to provide the vaccine to members of our campus community in collaboration with public health officials and partners from across UCF, we need you to continue to Armor Up.
If you have concerns about exposure, stay away from others and get tested. COVID-19 testing is readily available across Central Florida and continues to be offered at UCF in Garage A, with most insurers covering costs. To request testing, students and employees should call the UCF COVID Line at 407-823-2509.
Armor Up, Knights!
Dr. Michael Deichen, MD, MPH
Associate Vice President of UCF Student Health Services