Campus Vaccine Message
July 15, 2021
Over the last several weeks, we have seen significant reductions in pandemic-related public health restrictions with the result that our lives have begun to feel more “normal” than probably any time since last spring.
Disappointingly, at present public health experts are expressing significant concern about the new “Delta” variant of COVID-19 which is becoming increasingly widespread, especially among unvaccinated individuals. Delta is rapidly becoming the dominant variant in the country, and COVID-19 cases in many areas, including our local community, have recently increased.
Other countries’ experiences with the Delta variant clearly demonstrate it is far more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus. In addition, as an increasing proportion of new infections are due to the Delta variant, the number of younger individuals with COVID-19 needing hospitalization has grown, suggesting the variant may also be more virulent.
Fortunately, there is growing evidence that the vaccines currently available in the U.S. are protective against the Delta variant, especially protecting against severe illness, hospitalization, or death.
Unfortunately, as a state, Louisiana has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and public health experts are very concerned this makes Louisiana and other similarly situated states more susceptible to new COVID outbreaks, particularly from more infectious variants such as Delta.
Now more than ever it is urgently important that everyone be vaccinated.
All three of the vaccines currently approved by the FDA for emergency use in the U.S. (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are considered very safe and highly effective. At present, almost three hundred fifty million doses of these vaccines have been administered in the U.S., providing a significant body of evidence in support of prior determinations regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. To date, Southeastern has safely administered approximately 4,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on campus.
According to reports by healthcare officials, almost all the individuals currently hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Clearly, with the more infectious Delta variant spreading, those who are not vaccinated are at especially significant risk of contracting COVID-19.
Documented side effects commonly associated with the current COVID vaccines are very mild for most people and last only a day or so – redness and discomfort at the injection site and less frequently, general achiness and/or low-grade fever. These mild side effects are not dissimilar to what some people experience when they receive the seasonal flu vaccine and should not dissuade anyone from getting vaccinated.
The bottom line is this - the current COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and new variants such as Delta put unvaccinated individuals at greater risk than ever. Becoming vaccinated helps protect you from COVID-19. Importantly, it also helps protect your loved ones and others you come in contact with, as well as helps ensure the ability for all of us to maintain a reasonable semblance of normality in our work and personal lives. If you have not been vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to do so as soon as possible.
More information about how to be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 is available through the University Health Center which can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 549-2242. Information is also available on their webpage.
John L. Crain