Creating a Safer Campus — What College Students Should Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Creating a Safer Campus — What College Students Should Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

According to recent surveys, most college students are ready to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A new report out of College Pulse suggests 75% of students will likely get a vaccine at some point this semester. On top of this news, many colleges recently announced they would require students to get vaccinated if they want to return to campus. As more young adults roll up their sleeves, health experts are hopeful COVID-19 cases will gradually fall. 

While most students seem to be OK with getting the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s essential they’re armed with the correct facts. Knowing what to expect from this vaccine will help students manage their expectations and take care of any potential side effects.

What Students Should Know Before Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine 

Which COVID-19 Vaccine is Best for Young Adults?

While some people claim there’s a difference between the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, the CDC begs to differ. Dr. Anthony Fauci recently stated that patients should take whichever vaccine their doctor has available. 

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have efficacy rates above 90% for preventing COVID-19 infections. Students must remember that these vaccines aren’t “one and done” deals. People who get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines must schedule two appointments. 

Officially, patients should get their Moderna vaccines within 28 days. As for Pfizer, the ideal time frame is within 21 days. However, the CDC says it’s OK for students to get these shots within a 42-day period if they can’t make it to the vaccination site sooner. 

While health authorities recently called for a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC has just released the hiatus with an announcement recommending its continued use. According to the CDC, the pause gave researchers an opportunity to look into reports of adverse reactions where female patients who received the J&J shot had developed severe blood clots.

The CDC said that the extra time provided these experts with “time to carefully review all the available data and conduct a risk-benefit analysis.” It also offered an opportunity for the CDC to establish protocols for ongoing communication with healthcare providers on how to report any further adverse effects of the vaccine. For more details, see this link.

What’s the Best Way to Prep for a COVID-19 Vaccination?

Before students head off to their vaccination appointment, they should remember to pack a government-backed photo ID such as a driver’s license. However, they do not need to bring a medical insurance card. In fact, they don’t need medical insurance at all! According to the CDC, the U.S. Government is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone regardless of immigration or insurance status. 

The only people who shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine are those who have virus-like symptoms. These patients should seek medical attention immediately and follow their doctor’s orders.

If a student’s COVID-19 vaccination site is off-campus, it’s best to have someone else drive them to and from the clinic. It’s important to note that the first COVID-19 vaccine may cause arm tenderness.

Also, parents should know the CDC doesn’t recommend taking painkillers before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Patients can, however, take over-the-counter medications after getting the vaccination. The CDC also says that it’s OK for students to continue taking their prescription medications, unless their physician says otherwise.

Does The COVID-19 Vaccine Have Side Effects?

As referenced above, students could get mild side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. However, they shouldn’t worry too much if they notice symptoms. The CDC states that these side effects are positive signs of the body building a strong immune response. 

A few of the most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include pain on the injection site, skin redness, and temporary muscle weakness. Some people may also experience headaches, nausea, or a fever.

To help manage these symptoms, students can take their preferred over-the-counter painkiller. A few choices recommended by the CDC include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. 

In addition to taking painkillers, students should drink more water than usual throughout the day. Students could also look into cooling head patches to relieve symptoms like migraines. 

Should Students Ditch Their Face Masks After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Students shouldn’t consider themselves fully vaccinated until two weeks after getting their final shot. Even after this two-week period, the CDC cautions against disregarding standard pandemic protocols (e.g., frequent hand washing, physical distancing, and avoiding large crowds).

On the positive side, the CDC says it’s OK for a small group of vaccinated people to meet indoors without wearing face masks. Vaccinated people could also travel without getting COVID-19 tests or self-quarantining. However, students should check online to see any health restrictions or requirements at their intended international destinations.

Aside from these exceptions, vaccinated students should treat the pandemic the same as they did before. As scientists learn more about COVID-19 transmissibility and new variants, they may refine these health guidelines. So stay tuned to the CDC’s website for up-to-date details.

Please Be Wary Of Fake Vaccine Passports!

As a final warning: parents should be aware of a spike in fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. Recently, the FBI has seen a surge of interest in these illegal notes, especially on the notorious Darknet. If students express concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine—especially if their campus requires one—parents should speak openly about it. It’s also crucial for students to understand the dangers of sharing private information on social media.  

Students should seek a trusted doctor for specific questions about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. While the CDC’s website is a great resource, sometimes students need someone to talk to if they have specific concerns.