April 12: We’re chomping out COVID-19!

Michael Lauzardo, MD, MSc Director, UF Health Screen, Test & Protect Deputy Director, Emerging Pathogens Institute Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine UF College of Medicine

Greetings Gators,

What a fantastic, record-setting effort we had last week: more than 17,250 people vaccinated at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium through our collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County and with the support of Gator athletics — most of them students! Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator and put an end to the pandemic. We’re here to help and can get you in and out fast. 

We know you may have questions. We have some answers:

How quickly can I get an appointment to be vaccinated on campus?
Same-day or next-day appointments are available this week when you schedule at ONE.UF.edu. It takes about 5 minutes to schedule your vaccination.

Where are the vaccinations being given on campus?
At the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Champion’s Club, across the street from the O’Connell Center’s Gate 1 on Gale Lemerand Drive.

I am worried I will not be able to get my second dose before I head home for the summer. Should I still get vaccinated now?
You can get your second dose in your hometown if you will not be in Gainesville at that time. The exception may be if you are an international student from a country where vaccine availability may be limited. We encourage all U.S. residents to take steps to at least get their first dose before they go home, as access to the second dose they need will very likely be available to them there.

You should schedule your second vaccine as close to the recommend 3-week or 4-week interval. However, you can receive your second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first does if necessary and the vaccine will still be effective.

I am an international student — can I get vaccinated?
If you are living here as a student, you will be able to schedule a vaccine appointment. The Florida resident restriction was intended to discourage vaccine tourism, but international and out-of-state students will be able to make appointments and be vaccinated.

Can members of the community get vaccinated, too?
The whole community (over age 16) can access vaccines through our collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. To register for a vaccination appointment, community members must complete the county’s registration form. Invitations will then be sent for upcoming available appointments.

I heard the side effects from the second dose are bad. I want to wait for the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be very difficult to find over the next month as there are significant supply issues nationally. In addition, some programs are limiting its use for populations that are at high risk for not returning for a second dose. We do not recommend one brand over another because at this point there are no clear benefits of one over the other. We usually recommend that people get whichever vaccine is first available to them. The side effects of the second dose tend to be exaggerated. Yes, mild side effects can be more common with the second dose, but the vast majority of people do just fine with both doses. Moderna and Pfizer are readily available today.

Do I still need to complete surveillance testing after I am vaccinated?
Up to two weeks after you report your first vaccine on the health screener at ONE.UF, you will drop out of routine surveillance testing. You will still need to test to be cleared for campus during this time. Once your vaccine is confirmed, you will receive an email notification that you are no longer in routine testing. UF students should submit their vaccination information, so we can verify your record and remove you from routine testing.

Do I still need to be quarantined if I am a close contact of a case?
Once fully vaccinated (14 days after the first dose of J&J and 14 days after the second dose of Moderna and Pfizer) you will not be considered a contact to a COVID-19 positive case and no longer need to quarantine if exposed.

If you do become a contact to a case or become ill with COVID-19-like symptoms and would like to receive a COVID-19 test, please contact UF Health Screen, Test & Protect to make an appointment at 352-273-9790. If you would like a COVID-19 test for travel or any other purpose, please call the Student Health Care Center at 352-392-1161. The ONE.UF portal will no longer allow you to schedule a COVID-19 test.

I had my first dose at another site — can I get my second dose here at UF?
Yes! Even if you received your first dose of the vaccine from another location, you can schedule an appointment and receive your second dose at the stadium. Also, several area retail pharmacy sites are accepting appointments for people who need to receive a second dose of either vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is the first step back to a normal life, with school the way it should be, the ability to travel where you want to go, and a return to the social life you previously enjoyed. On top of that, you’re helping to protect our community as fast as possible.

A reminder: Moderna clinical trial vaccine study 

UF was selected as a site for a clinical trial with the National Institutes of Health to study the Moderna vaccine in college students. UF will attempt to vaccinate more than 1,000 students as part of this landmark national study to determine whether young people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can still spread the coronavirus. For more information, including study details, eligibility and contact information, visit the Prevent COVID U website.

As always, please visit the Screen, Test & Protect website for more information and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of any help at all.

Michael Lauzardo, MD, MSc
Director, UF Health Screen, Test & Protect
Deputy Director, Emerging Pathogens Institute
Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine
UF College of Medicine