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April 5, 2021

Starting today, the Pfizer vaccine is available to Florida residents age 16 and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to those 18 and older.

UCF has received enough vaccine from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County to provide both doses of the Pfizer vaccine to about 6,000 students residing in the Orlando area at a clinic in the Pegasus Ballroom that will open this week. More information will be shared later today directly with these students.

For those living outside of the region, there are many opportunities to receive the vaccine at a location near you, and we strongly encourage you to get fully vaccinated where ever you are. Achieving wide community vaccination is such a critical element to our ability to end this pandemic and all be together again. I know how badly our students are craving a return to normal, and vaccines are key in getting us there.

Understanding Your Vaccine Options

Many locations are now offering vaccines, both via appointments and walk-ups. Orange County is sharing more details about community providers on its Vaccine Information page, and we encourage Knights outside of Orlando to research options near them and get vaccinated.

All three vaccines available are highly effective at preventing severe disease. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more widely available at community providers, grocery stores and pharmacies and require a second dose three weeks later to be fully effective and provide protection from COVID-19.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is single-dose but currently less widely available.

It is important that those who may be relocating or traveling after the spring semester be mindful of when and where they receive their vaccine because they may need to return to receive a second dose.

Why It Is Important to Get Vaccinated

Vaccines are important for everyone, including those who have already had COVID-19. Public health officials do not yet know whether those who have had COVID-19 are immune in the long term. Additionally, re-infection can occur with the rise of variants, and the best way to stop variants is to stop the spread of the virus.

I encourage you to watch this video featuring faculty experts from UCF’s College of Medicine to learn more about debunked vaccine myths and why each of us should be vaccinated for the good of all.

It is going to take some time for our community to develop the herd immunity critical to widespread protection from COVID-19. That is why we must keep up with our COVID-19 precautions — wearing a face covering, practicing physical distancing and washing hands — even after we are vaccinated to protect those who have not yet been vaccinated.

Keep Armoring Up, Knights!

Dr. Michael Deichen, MD, MPH
Associate Vice President of UCF Student Health Services