COVID-19 vaccine recommendationJuly 06, 2021
I am Dr. Spencer Gregg, director of the Student Health Center. I hope you are having a wonderful summer, and we are excited to welcome you to campus in a few weeks.
As you know, COVID-19 vaccination is not required for students, faculty, or staff.
However, COVID-19 vaccination is still strongly recommended for those coming to campus—and because becoming fully vaccinated can take up to six weeks, now is the time to get started if you want to be fully vaccinated when you arrive.
Being fully vaccinated has some practical benefits. Fully vaccinated students do not need to quarantine, isolate, or be tested if they are exposed to COVID-19 and develop no symptoms. As long as you are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms, you do not have to stay away from others, go home, or pay for a place to stay. (With vaccines now widely available, the university will no longer provide space for campus residents who are required to relocate for isolation or quarantine.) You can continue on with the college experience you want without unnecessary disruption or expense.
Being fully vaccinated also means you can enjoy being out with others again and spending time with your friends without having to be as worried or anxious. The people I talk with at our vaccine clinics tell me that getting vaccinated is such a relief because it means being able to connect with people again in all those ways we took for granted before the pandemic.
As a doctor who has followed the COVID-19 pandemic from the very beginning, I want you to know that vaccines are safe, effective, and free. They have been rigorously tested through clinical trials with thousands of participants and have been given to hundreds of millions of people. They are effective at preventing COVID-19, especially severe illness and death, and help reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19. They are widely available and free regardless of your insurance status.
I certainly understand that people have questions about vaccines. I urge you, before you make up your mind, to please talk to your doctor. If you still have questions when you come to campus, you can also speak with a health care provider or another member of our medical team at the Student Health Center.
I am incredibly thankful that we now have vaccines available, and one of the best moments of my medical career has been helping people get vaccinated in our clinics. To see people smiling, knowing that getting vaccinated will take away their worry and anxiety, has been incredibly rewarding as a medical professional.
If you want to be fully vaccinated before you arrive, get started in the next week or so.
We will continue to have the two-dose Moderna vaccine and single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine easily available on campus for anyone 18 years and older. If you get your first shot of Moderna at home, you are welcome to get your second dose on campus when you arrive. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination on campus.
Have a great rest of your summer—and go Vols!
Message sent to students on July 1, 2021