Fall 2021 FAQ
Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine
Will COVID-19 vaccination be required?
Vaccination plays a very important role in securing our planned fall return. L.A. County is not anticipated to mandate vaccination; however, the required health and safety precautions will correlate with the percentage of vaccinated individuals to achieve community immunity (“herd immunity”). It is expected that we will continue to uphold social distancing, masking, and limitations on maximum occupancy requirements until the community reaches sufficient vaccination.
The APU Administration strongly encourages all individuals able and eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to do so at their earliest opportunity in alignment with appropriate health and safety protocols and in consultation with their own medical professionals. Please visit the California Department of Health website and sign up at My Turn. For more information or to sign up with a local provider, visit the California State Government site. For those living out of state, visit the CDC vaccine finder.
For our anticipated Fall 2021 return, APU will require those who are vaccinated to provide proof of vaccination (more details to come). Unvaccinated individuals may be required to participate in routine surveillance testing in order to help us ensure the safety of APU and our surrounding community.
How effective are the vaccines?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines reportedly are up to 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection, and the JJ/Janssen vaccine reportedly is about 66% effective. In addition, all of these vaccines reportedly are 100% effective in preventing severe illness/hospitalization and death.
Since the vaccines were developed quickly, how do we know they are safe?
COVID-19 vaccine development occurred rapidly due to scientific advancement and private and governmental support. Standard vaccine development reportedly was followed, including the three phases of clinical trial (safety, dose, effectiveness) with all safety monitoring features present. Volunteers for these studies included adults of varying ages and ethnicities.
- Vaccine Development Process (PDF), Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration
- “BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Mass Vaccination Setting,” The New England Journal of Medicine (February 24, 2021)
- “Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine,” The New England Journal of Medicine (December 31, 2020)
- COVID-19 Vaccines and People of Color, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Will the COVID vaccine affect my genes?
There is no evidence we are aware of to support this concern. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on mRNA technology. RNA is rapidly broken down and cannot insert itself into DNA.
Is there an increased rate of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) after obtaining the COVID vaccine?
An allergic reaction following a non-COVID vaccination occurs about once in a million cases. With the COVID vaccines, the rate reportedly varies between 2-3 per million to 1 in 100,000. Individuals are asked to stay for 15-30 minutes after receiving the vaccine to be monitored for this rare possibility.
What are the long-term effects of the vaccines?
As the vaccines are new, this question cannot yet be answered with certainty. Experts reportedly do not expect them to have long-term negative health consequences. Ongoing research will determine how long immunity will last. Past vaccine production has shown that most vaccine-related issues occur within the first few days or months, and not long-term.
Why should I get the vaccine if I am not high-risk for COVID-19 complications?
Limited data suggests that vaccines can help protect against asymptomatic transmission. Vaccination not only protects from infection, but it might also help protect close contacts, such as parents, grandparents, children, and other family members and friends that may be at a higher risk for severe COVID infection. Vaccination may also be required by other countries to travel.
What are the main COVID-19 variants and how well do the vaccines work against them?
B.1.1.7 was first identified in the United Kingdom. Moderna and Pfizer reportedly work well against this variant.
P.1 was first identified in Brazil. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are less effective against this variant, but reportedly still offer some protection.
B.1.351 was first identified in South Africa. This variant has caused the most concern because it appears that all of the vaccines are less effective against it. Moderna, Pfizer, and JJ/Janssen are all working on a booster shot. Moderna and Novavax are also working on a strain-specific multivalent vaccine to address variants.
Were aborted fetal cells used to produce the vaccines?
Some vaccine makers have used fetal tissue during the past 50 years. However, with the advent of newer technologies, many companies no longer do this. JJ/Janssen said it used fetal cell lines in vaccine production. Moderna and Pfizer have said they did not.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been endorsed by the Christian Medical and Dental Association, Catholic Medical Association, American College of Prolife Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American College of Pediatricians. For more information, visit the Charlotte Lozier Institute website.
Here we present the current scientific understanding for Frequently Asked Questions regarding COVID-19 vaccination. This is not medical advice and not intended to provide information about any particular medical presentations or conditions. Before making any medical decisions for you or your loved ones, it is recommended that you first consult with your medical professional.
Other COVID-19 Questions
What will the classroom experience look like? Will social distancing, wearing a cloth face covering, and remote learning still be a component of the experience?
Public health officials credit adherence to physical distancing and mask wearing as key components to curbing community transmission along with vaccination. Continued social distancing protocols are anticipated and will be contingent upon available protections against continued community spread, including among other things reaching signs of immunity, social distancing, sanitization, and face coverings. Increased detail will be provided as we approach the Fall semester and specific guidelines are outlined.
Will large gatherings/meetings be permitted?
It is expected that gathering sizes will still be capped as continued social distancing protocols are anticipated. We expect that gathering protocols will incorporate available protections against continued widespread transmission of viruses. Increased detail will be provided as we approach the Fall semester and specific guidelines are outlined.
Will I still be able to work from home?
Continued social distancing protocols are anticipated and will incorporate available protections against continued widespread transmission of viruses. This will determine whether a staged return of employees is necessitated with continued work from home. Increased detail will be provided as we approach the Fall semester and specific guidelines are outlined.