March 26, 2021

Dear Students,

The first day of spring was this week, and you can truly feel the shift in the season and the light ahead.

Yesterday, Governor DeSantis announced expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines. Beginning April 5, anyone 18 years of older is eligible for the vaccine. Gators, while increased access to vaccines is on the horizon, it is critical we remain vigilant with mask usage and physical distancing. We must stay the course and continue to engage strategies that have helped us get to this point in protecting the health and safety of our community. Do it for yourself — and for all of us!

As plans for vaccinations develop based on the governor’s announcement, we want to make sure you have the information to make informed decisions when your vaccine window opens.

Dr. Mike Lauzardo, director of UF Health Screen, Test & Protect, and Dr. Ronald Berry, director of the Student Health Care Center, stopped by some of Wednesday’s Gator Recharge Day events to answer student questions about the vaccines. It was very encouraging to see students interest in getting vaccinated and to hear the questions raised and addressed.

Below are some of the more common questions the doctors received and summaries of their answers:

Q: Am I immune as soon as I’m vaccinated? Can I still get COVID-19?
A: After you are vaccinated with both doses, you should develop immunity in approximately one to two weeks. Therefore, it is possible to be infected with COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. You should continue to physically distance yourself and wear your mask.

Q: Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
A: Absolutely not. There is no live virus in the COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: Do I need to wear a mask after I am vaccinated?
A: Yes. Vaccines may boost your immune system, so it is ready to fight the virus if you are exposed, but it is not yet fully understood whether vaccinated people might still be able to transmit the virus.

Q: Should I get vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19?
A: Vaccines are recommended for longer-lasting immunity. We do recommend that you get vaccinated even if you previously had COVID-19.

Q: Will I be able to get the vaccine through UF?
A: More information on how to schedule your vaccination appointment in Alachua County will be available next week.

Learn more about how getting vaccinated can help us chomp out COVID-19 here.

Finally, this week was our second Gator Recharge Day, where thousands of students participated in a variety of physically distanced outdoor events and activities. From lawn games and snacks to art projects and silent disco in the Swamp, every corner of campus was packed with ways for students to restore their energy. As this was our first-time holding Gator Recharge Days, I want to hear about your experiences. The first five students to message me about their favorite event on Instagram (@dr.dmull ) will receive a prize. My goal is for our events to continue to evolve based on your needs and feedback, as we are always looking for creative and energizing opportunities for your engagement.

Have a restful and relaxing weekend!

Be safe and be well, Gators.
Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs

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