Vaccines are widely recognized as an important tool in keeping the public safe from infectious diseases. Covid-19 vaccines are nearly 95% effective in preventing you from contracting the coronavirus infection as well as keeping you from becoming severely ill if you do contract Covid-19. It may help protect others you come in contact with, including friends and family. Vaccination is key to ending the Covid-19 pandemic.
Will Georgia Tech require staff, students, or faculty to take the vaccine?
While highly encouraged to protect yourself as well as the community, at this time, it is not mandatory for staff, faculty, or students to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
How does the Covid-19 vaccine work?
Like other vaccines, Covid-19 vaccines aid in the development of immunity to the virus. All vaccines protect the body by creating antibodies that fight future viruses. The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine and Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine both use mRNA to stimulate the production of these antibodies.
Individuals can be infected with Covid-19 shortly before or after vaccination because it usually takes your body a few weeks to produce the protective antibodies.
After vaccination, side effects can occur. However, this usually means that the body is developing immunity.
If I have already contracted and recovered from Covid-19, should I get the vaccine?
Yes. You should get the Covid-19 vaccine even if you have been infected with Covid-19. Antibody tests are not required for vaccination.
Individuals who are currently infected with Covid-19 should get vaccinated after their infection ends and isolation orders are lifted.
What variant of the Covid-19 vaccines will be available to the Georgia Tech community?
In its initial allocation, Georgia Tech received both the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine and the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine.
How do we know the Covid-19 vaccines are safe?
In December 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine and the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine during this public health emergency. FDA issued the EUA for the vaccines only after rigorous review of laboratory, clinical, and manufacturing data to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines.
Is there anyone who should avoid getting the vaccine as it becomes available?
According to the manufacturers of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine and the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine, you should not get the Covid-19 vaccine if you:
had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine
had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of this vaccine
Tell your vaccination provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
have any allergies
have a fever
have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
have received another COVID-19 vaccine
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Side effects have been reported with both the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine and the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine. These include:
Injection site pain.
Injection site swelling.
Injection site redness.
Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy).
There is a remote chance that the vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the vaccine. For this reason, your vaccination provider may ask you to stay at the place where you received your vaccine for monitoring after vaccination. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:
Swelling of your face and throat.
A fast heartbeat.
A bad rash all over your body.
Dizziness and weakness.
How will the vaccine be administered to the Georgia Tech community?
Georgia Tech is working actively with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), which oversees the planning and distribution of vaccines. The goal is to administer the vaccines across the campus community in a timely and orderly manner. Notifications on how and when to register for a vaccine appointment will be sent directly to the groups in each of the phases defined below. Learn more about the vaccine rollout plan.
Currently, we are in the initial phase of vaccine distribution – Phase 1A+.
For Georgia Tech, this phase prioritizes:
Stamps Health Services staff.
CARE staff and Counseling Center staff.
Health Initiatives victim advocates and nutritionists.
Covid-19 surveillance testing personnel.
Athletic Association medical staff and trainers.
Georgia Tech employees 65 years of age or older.
The next phase, Phase 1B, is expected to include all faculty and staff. Affiliate, auxiliary, and foundation employees are also included.
Phase 1C is expected to include persons ages 16-64 with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe Covid-19. This includes Georgia Tech students.
Phase 2 is expected to include all Georgia Tech students.
Do I need to register to receive the vaccine? If so, how?
Yes, once you are notified that you are eligible to receive the vaccine, you will need to register for a vaccine appointment using the Stamps Health Services appointment portal myappointment.health.gatech.edu.
How many doses will I need to receive in order for the vaccine to be fully effective?
Two doses of the vaccine are required. For the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine, the doses have to be a minimum of three weeks apart. For the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine, the doses have to be a minimum of four weeks apart.
When you receive your initial dose, you will be given information about the earliest that you can get your second dose and instructions for scheduling a second dose. At this time, you will be responsible for scheduling your second. Stamps will send out reminders when it is time to get a second dose.
If I receive a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine for my first dose, can I receive a Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine for my second dose or vice versa?
No. The vaccines are not interchangeable and both doses must match. Your vaccine card will specify the type of vaccine you received and when you received it.
Will I get a reminder when it is time for my second dose?
In addition to your reminder card, you will receive a reminder via email (to your Georgia Tech email address) from Stamps Health Services.
Do I have to get both doses from Georgia Tech?
No. If you received a first dose elsewhere, you may receive a second dose at Georgia Tech, provided that you have waited the appropriate interval time and that Georgia Tech has the same vaccine available that you received previously.
Similarly, if you receive your first dose at Georgia Tech, you can receive your second dose elsewhere as long as you have waited the appropriate number of days between doses and you receive the same dose.
Your vaccine card will be critical to completing and keeping track of your vaccinations, as it will specify both the vaccine type and date administered.
Will I still need to be tested for Covid-19 while I am in the process of receiving the first and second doses of the vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that individuals who have been vaccinated for Covid-19 still need to practice mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including wearing a mask, social distancing, and diligent handwashing.
Will I still have to wear a mask on campus after receiving the vaccine?
Yes. Experts are still evaluating the Covid-19 vaccines’ protection under real-world conditions. In addition, it is possible to get infected just before and right after your vaccination since your immunity takes time to develop. Preventive measures, along with vaccinations, are imperative to curb the pandemic.
Do I need to report getting the vaccine if I did so off campus?
No. However, no matter where you receive a Covid-19 vaccine, you will be given a vaccine card that will establish the type of vaccine administered and the date administered. You should keep this card in a safe, secure place so that you can receive the appropriate second dose from any provider.
What should I do if I get ill in between doses?
If you experience a severe allergic reaction, call 911, or go to the nearest hospital.
Call Stamps Health Services (students) or your healthcare provider (faculty/staff) if your illness seems to be more than mild to moderate expected side effects of the vaccination.
As part of this vaccination program, Stamps Health Services is required to report serious adverse events (irrespective of whether they are caused by the vaccination) after vaccination, which include death, a life-threatening event, inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of an existing hospitalization, a persistent or significant incapacity or significant disruption of the ability to conduct normal life functions, a congenital anomaly or birth defect, or an important medical event that based on medical judgment may jeopardize the individual and may require medical or surgical intervention to prevent one of the outcomes above. Any event meeting these criteria should be reported to Stamps Health Services.
You may also be given an option to enroll in v-safe. V-safe is a new voluntary smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to check in with people who have been vaccinated to identify potential side effects after Covid-19 vaccination. V-safe asks questions that help the CDC monitor the safety of Covid-19 vaccines. V-safe also provides second-dose reminders if needed and live telephone follow-up by CDC if participants report a significant health impact following Covid-19 vaccination. For more information on how to sign up, visit: www.cdc.gov/vsafe.
Source: Moderna and Pfizer info sheets
Will Georgia Tech keep track of those who have received the vaccine?
Stamps Health Services will use its electronic medical record system to record receipt of the Covid-19 vaccine at the Georgia Tech vaccination clinic. This will include faculty and staff as well as students who receive the Covid-19 vaccine on campus.
Will I receive documentation that I have received the vaccine?
Yes, every person who receives a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States is given a vaccine card at the time of their first dose. The vaccine administration card will list which type of vaccine they received, the lot number, the date, and the signature of the individual who gave the vaccination. Vaccine recipients should keep this documentation and remember to bring this documentation with them to their second Covid-19 vaccination.
Will the vaccine be made available to members of the greater community including family members?
At this time our plan is to focus our efforts on the immediate Georgia Tech community, including the faculty, staff, and students as they meet the phase definitions established by DPH. We are including Georgia Tech affiliates, contract staff, and others working on campus.