The University Health Center has received its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine: a limited supply from both Moderna and Pfizer. We began offering vaccinations in accordance with the phased approach established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) over the Winter Break.

While we do not have a precise schedule for receiving more doses of the vaccine, we anticipate that we will soon begin to receive regular shipments. We will continue to follow CDC and GDPH guidelines for administration until everyone who wants a vaccine gets a vaccine. You will be notified as additional information becomes available.

We ask for your patience in understanding that delivery of the vaccine is beyond our control. Our ability to administer immunizations will depend upon the amount of vaccine received and the number of healthcare personnel available for safely administering the vaccine and monitoring patients for adverse reactions. To date, the most common ill effects have been flu-like symptoms and sore arms. If you have any concerns about taking the vaccine, please contact your personal physician.

Both of the vaccines require a priming and a booster dose with the booster being given three or four weeks following the priming dose, depending on the vaccine initially received. Although the priming dose will confer some level of immunity to COVID-19, the booster is required to achieve over 90% effectiveness. In addition, it is critical to realize that immunity takes several weeks to develop.

Of course, no vaccine can be counted on to give complete protection for every person vaccinated. In addition, post-holiday cases are on the rise in our community and across our state and nation. Therefore, it is critical that each member of our community, vaccinated or not, continues to observe all the protections that have served us well to date. We urge you to remain diligent in washing your hands, wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding crowds.

We also strongly encourage you to take advantage of the expanded surveillance testing that we are offering from January 4 – 22: up to 1,500 free tests per day at Legion Field and pop-up locations. Testing at Legion Field can be scheduled at Walk-up appointments can usually be accommodated at Legion Field, and pop-up saliva testing does not require pre-registration. For planning purposes, precise sites and schedules for the pop-up clinics are published on the UHC’s website and its social media as they are secured:

In addition, we want to make you aware that the senior healthcare adviser for the University System of Georgia has advised us to encourage older employees, retirees and spouses (65 and older) to take advantage of the public health vaccine options that are now being offered in the local community. We are told that appointments will begin next week for this group. Here is the link to the registration site for the Northeast Georgia Health District.

The initial arrival of vaccine offers hope for the new year, because with each person we vaccinate, our community becomes safer. Together, we are Georgia Strong/Dawg Strong.