Student COVID-19 Vaccine Policy FAQs

Will the vaccine be mandatory for UIW students or student employees?

Staying up-to-date with the COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged to protect yourself, your family and fellow Cardinals. The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandated for students.

Will all UIW community members be eligible for the vaccine?

All students, faculty, staff and family members who are five years of age or older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. You may arrange for a vaccine by calling Health Services at (210) 829-6017.

Which vaccine should I receive?

For the purpose of this policy, a qualifying vaccine includes those approved for use in the U.S., such as those distributed by Pfizer, Moderna and the World Health Organization (WHO).

How many doses will I need to get?

Learn how many doses you will need by staying up-to-date at the CDC's COVID-19 vaccines website.

How long will the vaccine appointment take?

Vaccination appointments will take approximately 30 minutes, including a 15-minute observation period after receiving the vaccine.

What do I need to bring with me to my vaccine appointment?

Please bring your student ID and a government issued ID, such as a driver’s license, military ID or passport.

If I get the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask on campus?

Face masks, as a general rule, are no longer required in buildings. See the Mask Policy for special conditions and exceptions.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

There are many strict protections in place and steps taken during vaccine development to ensure that any vaccine authorized for use is proven to be safe and effective. Vaccine developers are required to go through a rigorous, multi-stage process including large (phase III) trials that involve tens of thousands of participants. More than 558 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States as of March 21, 2022. Adverse events occurred in 0.003% of cases. More than 70,000 people from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities participated in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. Clinical trials for the three vaccines included White, Hispanic/Latino, Black, Asian, and other races/ethnicities.

After the clinical trials show that the vaccines are safe and effective, a series of independent reviews and evidence is required to demonstrate efficacy and safety. The FDA is responsible for making sure that FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Do the vaccines cause side effects?

There is a potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. These are adverse reactions commonly seen with other vaccines. There may be other reactions that are not currently known. If you are receiving a two-dose vaccine, it is important that you receive the second dose to ensure the vaccine is effective, even if you experience side effects after the first dose.

If you have a severe allergic reaction following the first dose of a two-dose vaccine course, such as anaphylaxis, you should speak with your physician about whether you should receive the second dose. The possibility of this happening is low, occurring in about one in six million doses.

Should I get the vaccine if I have allergies?

You can receive the vaccine if you have allergies to injectable medicines, antibiotics, pets, environmental substances or foods. The three approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain egg protein and are safe for people who have egg allergies. If you have questions about allergies, your doctor can help you determine if the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

If I had COVID-19 and recovered, should I get the vaccine within 90 days of contracting the virus?

Yes. Early findings suggest natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last long and may not necessarily protect you against the newer variants. There is sufficient vaccine supply. There is no harm in getting vaccinated as long as you are symptom free and out of isolation.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective for pregnant people and their babies?

The COVID-19 vaccine protects you and your baby from severe disease. Vaccinations with one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines are not associated with increased risks to your pregnancy, including miscarriages or poor pregnancy outcomes. Visit the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists COVID-19 web page for more information.

We also respect the unique and personal wishes people have to control healthcare decisions during pregnancy. Having a discussion with your obstetrician is important. Some of the recent reports in unvaccinated pregnant women who have tested positive for COVID-19 show an increase in stillbirths and maternal deaths.

Should I get the vaccine if I am breastfeeding?

Yes. ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends that breastfeeding women get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to stop breastfeeding if you want to get a vaccine. When you get vaccinated, the antibodies made by your body may be passed through breastmilk and may help protect your child from the virus.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine make me infertile/sterile?

No. There is no evidence to suggest the vaccines cause infertility or affect your ability to become pregnant. The proteins are not similar, nor do they impact fertility or affect a pregnancy. The vaccine manufacturers are monitoring people in the clinical trials who became pregnant.

Is COVID-19 similar to the flu?

COVID-19 is significantly more dangerous than the flu and is 10 times more likely to cause death than the flu. There can be very serious long-term effects from COVID-19, with some individuals developing “long-hauler syndrome.” Long-hauler syndrome are symptoms that continue to exist during the post-recovery phase.

What if I have other questions or concerns not addressed here or in the policy?

Questions concerning this policy can be directed to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources or submitted via the UIW COVID-19 Question Form.

Vaccine FAQs 6/1/2022