Auburn's Vaccine Plan
Has Auburn received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine yet?
Yes. On Jan. 6, Auburn received its first batch of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19, with 3,500 doses being delivered and the university immediately initiating a phased approach in administering vaccinations amid the ongoing global pandemic. An exact delivery date for future vaccine doses is not yet known, but planning has been underway for weeks at Auburn for acceptance and distribution as the vaccine becomes available. For more information, go here.
Who will be able to get the vaccines?
The Vaccination Program Implementation Committee, made up of members of the COVID-19 Task Force and the COVID-19 Resource Center, is identifying the first groups to be vaccinated based on guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP is a CDC advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States. The CDC and ACIP have defined populations for different vaccination phases.
Auburn University has used these recommendations to model our COVID-19 Vaccination Allocation Guidelines and Vaccination Program Phases. The goal is to move through these phases as quickly as possible so that anyone wishing to have a vaccine will be able to receive it.
Will priority for vaccines be given to those in more vulnerable populations?
The goal is to administer the initially limited supply of vaccines to healthcare individuals and campus first responders, followed by those most at risk individuals that must be on campus to perform job duties and are unable to physically distance in the workplace.
For additional information on Auburn’s plan for phased vaccine distribution go here.
How do I get a vaccine?
As the university progresses through the Vaccination Program Phases we will continue to communicate about vaccine availability to those who are eligible to receive it. Supply is expected to increase substantially in 2021. We will provide detailed information to the campus when the vaccines are ready for wider distribution.
Can members of my family get the vaccine from Auburn?
At this time, we expect to receive a limited supply of vaccines. Priority will be given to members of the campus community. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, we anticipate the vaccine being available for family members and the community in general.
Is Auburn requiring employees and students to get the vaccine?
No. While there is no federal or state mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, all eligible individuals are strongly encouraged to follow the Alabama Department of Public Health’s recommendations and get vaccinated as soon as they are able. In addition to protecting each recipient against infection, it is essential that a large enough percent of the population receives the vaccine in order to achieve “herd immunity” to prevent continued spread of the virus causing COVID-19. We must each play our part in this process.
Are there other locations where I can get vaccinated?
Yes. The Alabama Department of Public Health is currently prioritizing healthcare workers, first responders and those over age 75. ADPH has a scheduling hotline (1-855-566-5333); however, if you do not qualify for a vaccine in the State’s current phase you will be placed on a waiting list. You may check with local hospitals, your personal physician, and local pharmacies, keeping in mind that call volumes will be high, vaccines will not be available at all locations, and you may not qualify for the vaccine during initial phases.
How much will this vaccine cost?
Auburn is providing the vaccine at no cost to employees, students and family members. However, vaccination providers in the community may charge an administration fee for giving the shot.
About the Vaccine
Which vaccines will be available?
The Moderna is currently available and being administered on campus. In addition, several other coronavirus vaccines are expected to be approved in the coming months. All vaccines approved for emergency use will have been reviewed for safety and effectiveness. Updates will be provided if the university receives vaccine from Pfizer or others.
Where can I find out more information about COVID-19 vaccine development?
Are any COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA?
Yes. Pfizer received authorization for emergency use on 12/10/2020 and Moderna received authorization for emergency use on 12/18/2020. Currently, no COVID-19 vaccines are fully approved by the FDA.
What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
The FDA can issue an EUA during a public health emergency to allow the special use of a medical product not yet approved by the FDA.
For the FDA to issue an EUA, safety and efficacy must be demonstrated, and certain criteria must be met, including that there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives.
What does the FDA review for the EUA process?
Similar to an approval evaluation, the FDA reviews clinical trial data, looking specifically for safety data and efficacy data to make their decision. Career scientists at the FDA are tasked with ensuring that this vaccine is safe and it works, just as they do for all other vaccines we use in the United States.
Can I get the vaccine if I’ve had COVID-19 or think I may have had COVID-19 in the past?
According to CDC, vaccination should be offered regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Data from phase 2/3 clinical trials suggest vaccination is safe and likely efficacious in these people.
Current evidence suggests that people who have had COVID-19 may be protected for up to 90 days after their initial infection, so they may decide to wait until after this period, if desired.
How do the vaccines work?
Each vaccine uses a slightly different approach with the same goal: to induce an immune response in the body against SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna are both mRNA vaccines.
This type of vaccine operates somewhat differently than other types, like the seasonal flu vaccine. mRNA vaccines contain a message from the virus that causes COVID-19 and gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein unique to the virus.
After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build immune cells that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future.
Most of the vaccines will require two shots, with the second shot received 21 to 28 days after the first, depending on the vaccine.
How many doses of the vaccine will I receive?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be effective. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is administered three weeks after the first dose while the second dose of the Moderna vaccine is administered four weeks after the first.
How did a vaccine get developed and approved so quickly? Was the process rushed?
Producing a vaccine against COVID-19 has been the top priority of scientists and governments around the world to help bring an end to the pandemic. With the coordinated and enormous investment of resources, development of these vaccines has been accelerated, all while maintaining standards for safety and efficacy.
Rather than eliminating steps from traditional vaccine development timelines, steps are proceeding simultaneously, such as scaling up manufacturing while safety and efficacy data are collected.
Are the vaccines safe?
No serious side effects have been reported with either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccines to date. Any side effects from COVID-19 vaccination are normal and indicate that you are building protection. Most of the side effects go away quickly. Learn more about what side effects to expect and what to do about them if you experience them. Most adverse events were mild or moderate in severity and short-lived. Noted adverse effects were injection site redness, pain and swelling, fatigue, fever, chills, headache, nausea, muscle pain and joint pain.
Before receiving approval for emergency use, pharmaceutical companies must provide evidence that their vaccines are safe. A team of experts from the FDA, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other agencies reviewed all available data on safety and efficacy before recommending them for use.
It is important to note that the Pfizer and Moderna trials did not include individuals younger than 18 years old, pregnant or nursing women, or immunocompromised individuals and therefore, whether these vaccines work or are safe in these groups cannot been determined at this time.
For more information, visit the CDC’s Safety of COVID-19 vaccines and CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ’s here.
Am I protected if I only get one vaccine dose?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine studies found that two doses were needed to optimize the immune response and provide the best protection from COVID-19. Therefore, the 2-dose regimen is strongly recommended and will be necessary for documentation of full vaccination.
Will vaccines protect against different variants of the coronavirus that have been identified?
Yes, health officials believe that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will offer protection against the different variants of the coronavirus. Research is ongoing to further study this issue.
Can I get the first dose of one vaccine and the second dose of another?
No. This was not evaluated and there is no evidence that the vaccines are interchangeable. If you get a first dose of one vaccine, you should get a second dose of the same vaccine. Individuals administering the vaccine will be tracking this issue.
What if I miss the second vaccine dose?
According to CDC guidance, second doses administered within a grace period of ≤ 4 days from the recommended date for the second dose are considered valid; however, doses administered earlier do not need to be repeated. The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second dose for either vaccine.
How soon after receiving the vaccine am I protected?
It typically takes a few weeks after the final dose of a vaccine for the body to build up immunity to the disease. However, it is not necessary for one to quarantine between each dose. Individuals are recommended to continue with their daily lives while following COVID-19 public health recommendations.
How long do the vaccines protect against infection?
Health care professionals and researchers are still learning about COVID-19 and new information is discovered nearly every day that is helpful in the fight against this disease. Because COVID-19 is still a relatively new virus, it is difficult to know exactly how the virus affects the body long-term and how long immunity from natural infection lasts.
Therefore, it is also difficult to predict how long a vaccine will provide protection against the virus. As the vaccines are administered and new information is gathered, additional data about how long it will protect against the virus will be made available.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccination?
Although phase 3 trial results are not available, experimental vaccine interim data indicate 90% efficacy after two doses. Efficacy is the measure of effectiveness obtained from a randomized controlled clinical trial. Further details regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine, such as how long the vaccination offers protection, are not yet available.
Learn more about how well vaccines work in clinical trials, and how the nation’s vaccine experts will continue to study effectiveness in the real world here.
Can an individual receive the influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
Getting the influenza vaccine is still very important as one can be infected with both influenza and the coronavirus. Influenza vaccination will also prevent a surge of influenza cases in hospitals that may be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Getting both the influenza and COVID-19 vaccine around the same time is considered safe, though experts recommend spacing of the vaccinations by a few days to weeks apart.
Can children get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine will be available for patients 16 and older. The Moderna vaccine will be available for patients 18 and older. There are ongoing trials in younger children at this time.
Where can I go for more information on the COVID-19 vaccine
There are several resources, including the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions about COVID -19 Vaccination. Also, please see:
Getting the Vaccine
What should I do during my vaccine visit?
- Wear your mask into the vaccine clinic and during your vaccination.
- Complete the GuideSafe HealthCheck survey and have your green passport ready for review.
- Bring your AU ID and one other form of identification (must be 18 years of age or older).
- Bring a pen to sign paperwork.
- Complete and print vaccine paper work and bring to your appointment.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing so upper arms can be easily accessed for injection.
- Review the COVID Moderna EAU Fact Sheet.
- Review the COVID-19 V-Safe Handout.
- Review your calendar to ensure you will be able to return for the second vaccine in 28 days (appointment date for the second dose will be scheduled based on vaccine availability).
Who should get the vaccine?
Most people can get the COVID-19 vaccine, once supplies allow for their priority group to be vaccinated. For the most up date to date information on the current phase of vaccine distribution please visit the COVID-19 Resource Center website.
Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Anyone with a severe allergy to a vaccine component (i.e., one that causes anaphylaxis or requires medical intervention);
- Individuals with a history of severe allergy to any vaccine or injectable medication
- Those younger than 16 years of age;
- People currently isolating or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; these people can get vaccinated once they are finished isolation and their primary symptoms have resolved.
Who may need to consult with their healthcare provider regarding the risks and benefits of the vaccine prior to receiving it?
- Pregnant women
- People with certain immune-compromising conditions
- Breastfeeding women
- People on anticoagulants
If I have an autoimmune or immune-compromising condition, can I be vaccinated?
People with immune-compromising conditions may get the COVID-19 vaccine as long as they are not in one of the following categories:
- Severe allergy to a vaccine component (i.e., one that causes anaphylaxis or requires medical intervention)
- History of severe allergy to any vaccine or injectable medication
However, it is recommended that individuals with compromised immune systems discuss their personal risks and benefits with a healthcare provider to determine whether to receive the vaccine. Data about how well the vaccine works and its safety in immune-compromised individuals are not currently available, so it is possible that these individuals could have a lower immune response to vaccination. On the other hand, persons with these conditions may also be at higher risk of severe disease due to COVID-19. Therefore, the CDC recommended that people who are immune-compromised or taking immunosuppressive medications could receive the vaccine if they wanted as long as they do not have other contraindications.
With this said, knowing the potential for a lower immune response, if someone with an immune-compromising condition decides to get vaccinated, it will be important to get both doses and practice other public health measures until more is known about their protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.Post-licensure monitoring systems, like the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), will be used to allow for real-time monitoring of these sub-groups.
What other special procedures should be followed?
- Someone with a history of severe allergy (requiring medical intervention) to anything other than a vaccine or injectable medication can get the vaccine, but they should remain at the vaccination location for medical observation for 30 minutes after receipt of the vaccine.
- Pregnant women who develop a fever after vaccination should take acetaminophen.
- People who recently had COVID-19 and were treated with antibody-based therapies (e.g., monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma) should wait until 90 days after treatment to be vaccinated.
- People with a known COVID-19 exposure should wait until their quarantine is over before getting vaccinated (unless they live in a group setting, such as a nursing home, correctional facility, or homeless shelter, in which case they can be vaccinated during the quarantine period).
- People who got another vaccine (non-COVID-19 vaccine) should wait at least 14 days before getting COVID-19 vaccine. Likewise, if a person got the COVID-19 vaccine, they should wait at least 14 days before getting any other vaccines (non-COVID-19 vaccines).
Should I get the vaccine if I already had confirmed COVID-19 or have a positive antibody test?
Yes, as per CDC recommendations, vaccinations should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic coronavirus infection, including a positive antibody test. For persons who experience lingering symptoms for weeks and months after diagnosis (i.e., “COVID-19 long-haulers”), vaccination is similarly considered safe and likely efficacious.
For persons with current COVID-19, vaccination should be deferred until recovery from acute illness and can be deferred up until 90 days after the current episode.
Should people with a history or allergic reactions receive the vaccine?
Per CDC and FDA recommendations, those who have had a severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of the vaccines should not be vaccinated. For those who have had a severe allergic reaction to another vaccine or injectable treatment (intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous) the vaccine can still be administered; however, it is recommended that the risks be discussed with a healthcare provider and that the recipient be monitored for 30 minutes post-vaccination. For those with any other allergy (e.g. food, pollen, pets), vaccination should be offered. All individuals who received vaccines should be observed for about 15 minutes after vaccination.
Will the vaccine be safe for pregnant women and women trying to conceive?
Pregnant women and women trying to conceive were not included in the first round of clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines, so no safety data is currently available for these groups.
However, CDC recommends that pregnant women consider their personal risk of contracting COVID-19 by occupation or other activities, risk of COVID-19 to her and her pregnancy, efficacy of the vaccine, and known side effects of the vaccine when deciding whether to be vaccinated. Pregnant women and women trying to conceive should have a discussion with their healthcare provider about risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am breastfeeding?
Yes. Although women who are breastfeeding were not included in the clinical trials, current data suggest that COVID-19 is not transmitted through breast milk, so it is not expected that vaccination would cause a concern either. On the other hand, some women who are breastfeeding will be at higher risk for exposure, so they could benefit from receiving the vaccine.
In addition, women do not need to delay breastfeeding for any period of time after they have been vaccinated.
If I had COVID-19 already, do I still need to get the vaccine?
People who had COVID-19 are recommended to get the vaccine after they have recovered. The vaccine trials included people who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, and the vaccine was found to be safe. Because we do not know how long antibodies last after infection and a small number of people have had more severe second bouts of infection, the vaccine can be beneficial in boosting a person’s existing immunity from infection.
What if I am scheduled to receive a vaccine and I discover that I had a close contact exposure just prior to their appointment?
Cancel your scheduled appointment, self-quarantine for 10 days, get tested at any point if you become symptomatic, consider getting tested 5 to 8 days after the last known date of exposure and if all tests are negative reschedule your vaccination date.
If any of their tests are positive, begin your 10-day isolation period, inform your close contacts to quarantine and get tested, and reschedule to receive your first vaccination 90 days after completion of their isolation period.
What if I received the 1st dose of the vaccine and then discover that I had a close contact exposure prior to receiving the 2nd dose?
If it is within 10 days of their scheduled appointment for their 2nd dose, cancel their appointment. Self-quarantine for 10 days, get tested at any point if they become symptomatic, consider getting tested 5 to 8 days after the last known date of exposure and if all tests are negative reschedule their vaccination date. If any of their tests are positive, begin their 10-day isolation period, inform close contacts to quarantine and get tested and plan to receive their first vaccination shot 90 days after completion of their isolation period. Inform the CDC of their positive test result.
What if I have received the 1st dose of the vaccine and then test positive for COVID prior to receiving the 2nd dose?
Begin isolation for 10 days, inform close contacts to quarantine and get tested, cancel their scheduled appointment for the 2nd dose and reschedule for a minimum of 90 days after their isolation period is over. Inform the CDC of their positive test.
What if I have received BOTH doses of the vaccine and then discover that I had a close contact exposure or test positive?
If they were exposed, they should self-quarantine for 10 days, get tested at any point if they become symptomatic, consider getting tested 5 to 8 days after the last known date of exposure. If their tests are negative, they can stop their quarantine. If their tests are positive, begin their 10-day isolation period, inform close contacts to quarantine and get tested and report to the CDC their positive test result.
After Receiving the Vaccine
How long before the vaccine takes effect?
The mRNA vaccines require two doses. While people will have some immunity after the first dose, protection will be most likely about one week after receipt of the second dose.
Will the vaccine be given annually or is it only for this year?
This is not known at this time. Scientists are continuing to collect data about long-term immunity to SARS-CoV2.
If you get the vaccine and become immune, then are exposed to it, can you pass the virus on to others from your exposure?
Based on experience with other vaccines and early data from the COVID-19 vaccines, it is likely that people who are vaccinated will have enough immunity where they will not pass the virus to others if exposed, but this is not 100 percent certain.
Once I have been vaccinated am I exempt from all safety precautions or lockdowns?
No. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Everyone will still need to practice recommended public health measures for a while because it will take some time to slow or stop the spread of the virus. Two factors are important for understanding why:
While the vaccines appear to be highly effective at preventing disease, it might not prevent asymptomatic infection, meaning vaccine recipients might still be able to get infected, but not have symptoms and, therefore, unwittingly spread the virus. The companies will be doing additional studies to better understand whether this is the case.
Scientists estimate that to control COVID-19, about 7 or 8 of every 10 people will need to be immune. Given that the U.S. population is more than 330 million people, this means that almost 250 million of them will need to be immune to reach this goal. Between March and November 2020, almost 12 million people in the U.S. were found to be infected, although estimates from antibody studies suggest that the number might be 3-7 times greater. Despite this the virus rages on, demonstrating just how many more people need to become immune before we can expect to control the spread of COVID-19. This also shows how important vaccines are in controlling the spread because more than 250,000 people died as a result of COVID-19 infections between March and November 2020. If we had to rely on infections alone to stop the spread of COVID-19, between 1 million and 5.4 million people would die on the way to 250 million people becoming immune.
For these reasons, there will still be some period of time during which other measures, such as masks, physical distancing, and other public health measures, will be required to slow or stop the spread of the virus. And, because we won’t know who might still be able to be infected after vaccination or previous illness, everyone will be asked to comply.
There is still more to learn about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.