Many Colleges and universities endorse a school-wide COVID-19 vaccination policy. It is unlikely students will be able to return to campus life without the immunization. The COVID-19 virus has high transmission rates in densely populated areas with close contact. College and university campuses where students live together, attend large classes together, and often eat in communal areas, are considered hot spots for COVID-19 spread.
Where Should I Look to Find a College COVID-19 Vaccine from an Online School?
Many universities have started offering campus-wide COVID-19 vaccines to faculty and students. To find out if the COVID-19 vaccine is offered at your college check with your school’s health center or medical services department. Other resources for finding a vaccine appointment are:
- CDC Website
- COVID-19 Vaccine Finder
- Local pharmacies offer vaccination appointments
- State Health Department
What Should I do After I Get My College COVID-19 Vaccine?
You should check the COVID-19 vaccine requirements with your college or university before attending in-person classes. The COVID-19 vaccine does not reach its full strength until two weeks after receiving the second shot. During these two weeks, vaccinated individuals can transmit the virus to other people. Make sure you continue to wear a mask in public places and follow social distancing guidelines even after getting vaccinated.
The CDC has created a smartphone tool called the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker. V-safe provides health check-ins after you receive your COVID-19 vaccine in college. The app uses text messaging and web surveys that ask about your side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Participating in this research is easy and will help everyone. It also won’t hurt to snap a picture of your vaccine card with your phone. If you misplace the card you will still have a copy saved on your phone.
Can My Online School Require Me to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?
Most colleges and universities require new students to provide proof they have received certain common childhood vaccinations. Rutgers University in New Jersey is the first college to require students to be fully immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine before arriving on campus in fall 2021.
The right to require students in public schools to receive the usual childhood vaccinations falls on the states. Since the 1970s, all 50 states have required parents to vaccinate their children against various diseases, like polio, measles, mumps before enrolling the child in public school. Most states have exemptions for students whose families oppose vaccinations for religious or medical reasons. This mandatory immunization requirement is the most efficient method of achieving herd immunity.
There is a difference between the required childhood vaccines that can be state-mandated and the COVID-19 vaccine. The distinction is the approval level granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use under the Emergency Use Authorization. This designation makes lifesaving vaccines available after being successful in initial clinical trials. But these vaccines have not gone through the years of study normally required for a new vaccine. The 2003 law allowing emergency use specifies that people cannot be required to use any of these drugs or devices. When the FDA approves the COVID-19 vaccines for regular use, public colleges and universities may start to require them.
How Can I Find My Vaccination Records for Online School?
If you have already attended college, you have probably submitted your vaccination records to the school. If this is the case, you can contact your school’s health center to ask for a copy. Many students who entered school at 17 or 18 may have had parents submit the documents and may want to ask their parents for a copy. You may also ask your family doctor or healthcare provider for a copy.
Some states have adopted state immunization databases where healthcare providers can access and update patient’s immunization records. If your state has a database, ask your doctor to print you a copy of your immunization record. When you get your COVID-19 vaccine be sure to ask if they provide the information to your state’s database. You will want to make sure your new COVID-19 vaccine is recorded in the database.
|Places to Check for Vaccination Records:|
|College or University – check with health center or records office|
|Parents – mom, dad, or your guardian may have a copy|
|Family Doctor – check with your health care provider|
|State Database – your state may keep them on file in an electronic database|
Will Online School College Students Choose to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
The Pew Research Center report in March 2021 indicates that 69% of the general public has already been vaccinated or intends to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This percentage of individuals reporting they planned to be vaccinated increased significantly from 51% in September 2020 to 60% in November 2020. If this positive trend continues into the fall of 2021, many colleges and universities should be able to reopen.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have been living in a surreal world of virtual everything. The isolation and lack of human interaction has been difficult at best. Colleges and Universities very much want students back on campus. Check with your school to find an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine in college!