features

Calling the Shots: Your Vaccination Questions Answered

Nicole Letendre ’23

Features Editor

Kelsey DeVoe, Director of Health Services, and Denielle M. Burl, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, hosted a vaccine webinar, in which they answered some of the major questions surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations. Ms. Burl began by discussing the logistics of getting vaccinated: who is eligible and when? Individuals 16+ yrs. are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and those 18+ are eligible to receive the Moderna vaccine, as of today Apr. 19th. Registration for appointment times can be completed online. Many students have wondered if Holy Cross will be distributing vaccines; however, at this time “the vaccines are being reserved for the larger state vaccination sites.” Though HC is unable to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, Ms. Burl did state that all students, including those out-of-state or international students, are eligible to be vaccinated in MA. 

Kelsey DeVoe, Director of Health Services, spoke about the science behind these various COVID-19 vaccines. Moderna and Pfizer are both mRNA vaccines, and they contain instructions to make a protein, which mimics exposure to the COVID-19 virus, creating antibodies and memory cells so that the body is able to fight exposure to the virus in the future. Both Moderna and Pfizer involve two shots, with 4wks between Moderna vaccines and 3wks between Pfizer vaccines. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine only involves one shot, and Director DeVoe gave insight into the pause with this vaccination: 6 women between the ages of 18-48 developed a rare blood clot in the brain within about 2wks of getting vaccinated. Director DeVoe emphasized that the pause on J&J vaccinations is partially related to “educate medical providers” as to the treatment for this rare blood clot. 

Director DeVoe stated that individuals are fully protected 2wks after getting their last vaccination (2nd for Moderna and Pfizer, and 1st for J&J). Mild symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, chills, and fever may be associated with the first round of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. More moderate symptoms may occur after the second round of vaccination, since the body’s immune response is stronger. Those who are fully vaccinated may gather together safely, or those who are fully vaccinated may gather with unvaccinated, but low-risk individuals. As of now, vaccinated individuals must still test for COVID-19 when on-campus. If you test positive after getting the vaccine, you are still required to isolate for 10 days. Looking ahead, Director DeVoe stated that the vaccine is not a requirement for next semester, but that they are discussing it with the whole team. If you have been vaccinated, you have the option of uploading a picture of your vaccination card to your Patient Portal to document your immunizations. For those who are looking to get vaccinated, there are several CVS locations close to campus and offering the vaccine. Additionally, Uber and Lift are giving free rides to vaccination sites, and Twitter sends out reminders when vaccination appointments are available, which can be found @vaccinetime. If you have any questions regarding the vaccine, or your appointment, you can contact Health Services or Kelsey DeVoe at krdevoe@holycross.edu.

Graphic by Nicole Letendre ’23

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