First and foremost, we have a responsibility to our own health and wellbeing. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19—just like we were vaccinated against measles and polio—is an important part of that responsibility. While some of us may be less susceptible to COVID-19's most severe symptoms, we're not immune. The vaccines are highly effective and readily available. Get one.
Beyond our responsibility to ourselves, we have a responsibility to our Drake community. It's on each of us to keep our community safe and healthy. Our fellow students, faculty and staff, our roommates, or Greek brothers and sisters, our teammates ... we each have to do our part to protect each other and ensure that, come fall, we can all return to a full Drake experience.
Drake is bigger than the few square blocks in Des Moines that we call home. Drake students and faculty are recognized leaders in a broad range of fields across the country and around the world. As current and future leaders, it's important that we set an example of responsible leadership and care that echoes out to the larger global community.
Many of the University’s policy decisions, including mask and distancing requirements, hinge on the percentage of people within the University community who have been fully vaccinated. While voluntary, submitting proof of your vaccination is highly encouraged so the University can make accurate and informed decisions about safe campus operations. To put it simply, the higher our vaccination rate, the more protected the entire Drake community, and the more likely we can return to a more normal campus life.
Please note, those who have previously submitted proof of their COVID-19 vaccination by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or to University Athletics do not need to re-submit proof of vaccination with this form. All questions may be directed to email@example.com.
More than 800 million people worldwide have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. What’s stopping you? Watch a panel discussion with Drake faculty experts Brian Gentry, associate professor of pharmacology; Carrie Koenigsfeld, professor of pharmacy practice; and Shauna Kaplan, assistant professor of biology, as they address common concerns when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. The discussion is moderated by Nora Stelter, associate professor of pharmacy practice.
Nora Stelter, associate professor of pharmacy practice, addresses six common concerns circulating about COVID-19 vaccines and clears up confusion with reliable facts.
While young adults have a lower risk of developing severe outcomes from COVID-19, there have been thousands of young people who have required hospitalization and more than 2,400 adults between the ages 18–29 have died. Beyond getting vaccinated to protect our own health, we have a responsibility to keep our community safe and healthy. When you get vaccinated, you’re doing your part to protect those around you—it’s truly a collective effort. This is why it’s important to get vaccinated.
Even if you’ve had COVID-19, you should definitely get vaccinated. We’re still learning about natural immunity and how long it lasts after COVID-19 infection, but we do know that getting a vaccine after you’ve recovered from COVID-19, strengthens your immune response. We also know that the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines provide better protection than natural infection against rapidly spreading, highly contagious variants such as Delta. Finally, getting vaccinated protects our community, especially our more vulnerable members of society. Think of getting vaccinated as an act of care—it protects your grandparents, parents, neighbors and immunocompromised friends.
The vaccines cannot change your DNA. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. They do not enter the nucleus of the cell where our DNA (our genetic code) resides and do not affect our DNA.
So, what do mRNA vaccines do? The mRNA vaccines contain instructions that tell your own cells to make a protein (the little spike or “crown” that you see on pictures of the coronavirus) that is unique to COVID-19. These spike proteins cannot harm you or give you COVID-19. Your immune system reacts to this protein and activates a response, which includes making antibodies that can recognize and fight COVID-19 if you do get exposed.
Interesting fact: The vaccine itself only stays in your body for about 72 hours after vaccination, but your immune system now has the ability to recognize and attack the virus should it come into contact with it in the future. That doesn’t mean you can’t contract COVID-19 in the future, but it does mean that if you do, you are much less likely to become extremely ill with symptoms, become hospitalized, or die from the virus.
This activation of your immune system may cause some temporary, minor side effects, such as a slight fever, headache, aches and feeling tired. That’s ok! It means your immune system is working and gearing up for battle should it come into contact with COVID-19.
This myth arose from a false social media article. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that indicates that COVID-19 vaccines can affect fertility. The false report stated that the spike protein on the coronavirus was the same as another spike protein found during pregnancy, and that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this spike protein and affect her fertility. This is not true. The two spike proteins are completely different, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect fertility.
During the Pfizer vaccine testing, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant, and the only one who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo. In addition, a large number of pregnant women have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and it has been shown to be completely safe.
There have been reports to the voluntary Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) of inflammation of the heart muscle—called myocarditis— happening after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. This is likely vaccine-induced myocarditis and has been observed in mostly young men after receiving their second dose of vaccine. However, the number of individuals that reported this side effect is very small compared to the hundreds of millions of people that have been vaccinated. Also, most patients who experienced myocarditis had a full recovery from symptoms. The benefits of the getting vaccinated outweigh the small risk of myocarditis.
Although the COVID-19 vaccine was developed faster than typical, the vaccines were still required to go through all the proper phases of testing and analysis to make sure they are safe and effective—no step in the process was skipped. The COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. They are also under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. As of June 2021, more than 300 million doses of COVID-19 have been administered in the U.S. All of the scientific data has proven them to be safe and effective and critical to ending the global pandemic.