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Vaccine Rollout Plans

Tufts has been approved by the state to administer COVID-19 vaccines through the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Program (MCVP). This approval was the first in a multi-step process ultimately enabling us to provide vaccine to our community directly.

We are following closely the Commonwealth’s phased rollout plan for administering the vaccine and must wait for the state to provide us with an allotment of vaccine before we can schedule appointments. When we have the vaccine, we will reach out directly to those who are eligible to receive vaccinations. As currently available vaccines require two injections to be effective, we will make two appointments for each individual. Appointments will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis while our supply of vaccine lasts.

Questions? If you have questions about the phased vaccine rollout at Tufts University, please email CovidVaccine@tufts.edu.

Everyone vaccinated will be expected to follow the university's public health safety protocols including continuing to wear face masks in public spaces and in apartments and residence halls, except in the bedroom with only one’s roommate present and while bathing; wearing appropriate PPE in patient care settings; following social distancing guidelines; and practicing proper hand hygiene.

In addition, students, faculty and staff who have been vaccinated will continue in the routine weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing. Similarly, they will continue to follow existing quarantine, isolation and travel protocols until further notice.
 

How to Get a Vaccine

If you qualify at this time to receive the vaccine, Please do not call or email Tufts Health Service or make inquires to Jumbo Health or Tufts Medical Center to request the vaccine. We will know if you are eligible based on your birth date in our student or employee records or through other documentation as required.

If you are currently eligible in accordance with the state’s plans, you may also seek vaccination through public distribution sites in your communities or through your own health providers.

If you have questions about vaccine eligibility or how to get vaccinated at locations outside of Tufts University, please follow these steps:

  1. Visit mass.gov/COVIDvaccine to find your phase and priority group.
  2. If you are eligible to receive a vaccine, use mass.gov/COVIDVaccineMap to find a vaccine clinic near you.
  3. Make an appointment online and complete the attestation form.

Please do not call Tufts Health Service or make inquires to Jumbo Health or Tufts Medical Center to request the vaccine. We will contact members of the Tufts community about scheduling their vaccinations as we follow the phased rollout plan defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

Read more about the Commonwealth’s phased rollout plan for the COVID-19 vaccination. Please note, Federal and State guidance is rapidly changing. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

To help you better understand this vaccine, here are some FAQs

The COVID-19 vaccines are injected into a person’s upper arm, much like a flu vaccine or other shot. The COVID-19 vaccine comes in two doses, spaced a few weeks apart. The first shot provides some immediate protection against infection, and the second shot increases the effectiveness of that protection.

There are currently two COVID-19 vaccines which have been authorized by the FDA under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). One is manufactured by Pfizer and the other by Moderna. Because both vaccines are considered highly effective, public health officials recommend that patients take whichever vaccine is available.

The Phase 3 studies for both vaccines are almost identical and have shown efficacy around 95% after completion of both doses. Neither vaccine reported any serious adverse reactions.

Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines that utilize spike proteins which are a part of the COVID-19 virus. These spike proteins are non-infectious on their own. The spike proteins will prompt the immune system to produce antibodies that can remember, recognize, and attack the COVID-19 virus.

Both vaccines require two doses to achieve the maximum immunity response. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is typically scheduled to be administered 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine is typically scheduled to be administered 28 days after the first dose.

Yes, the vaccines have only been studied for efficacy after two doses. Maximum immunity develops up to 2 weeks after the second dose of the vaccine.

You have to take the same vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) that was given on the first dose for proven efficacy.

Phase 3 clinical trials of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines found the efficacy to be up to 95% for preventing COVID-19, compared with placebo. Vaccines prevented both mild and severe disease in these trials. This is a very high level of effectiveness, comparable to other extremely effective vaccines such as those for chickenpox and measles.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for these two vaccines after they met rigorous safety and efficacy standards. The data support their safety: neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines have reported any widespread or permanent serious adverse effects.

You cannot get COVID-19 from either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

The most commonly reported side effect was soreness at the site of the injection. The other common side effects, in up to 2% of recipients, were temporary symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, chills or fevers. These symptoms are more common after the second dose and usually resolve within 1-3 days.

Both vaccines require caution in persons with a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines or injectable therapy. The CDC describes severe allergic reaction as anaphylaxis and/or one requiring an EpiPen and/or hospitalization after any other vaccine or injectable therapy. People who have a history of anaphylactic reactions to any substance will be observed for 30 minutes (rather than the typical 15 minutes) after each dose of the vaccine.

Common allergens (i.e., nuts, fish, eggs) are NOT listed in the ingredients for either vaccine, and thus do not pose a problem to individuals receiving vaccination. The vaccines and their vials do not contain latex, so it can be administered to persons with a history of latex allergies.

There are no known reactions or interactions between oral medications and the vaccines.

The only risk known to be associated with blood thinners is the small risk of bleeding at the injection site.

Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine have any reported widespread or permanent, serious, negative effects on persons receiving these vaccines. It is known from the history of other vaccines that adverse reactions will almost always be seen within two weeks after vaccine.

The science suggests that both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines should work just as well on new variants. 

There is no evidence or scientific concern that the vaccine could impact fertility.

These vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women. However, we know that pregnant individuals who contract COVID-19 are 5-times more likely to have serious side effects from the virus. They are also more likely to have pre-term births. Therefore, pregnant women should consult their obstetricians when considering, and prior to receiving, the vaccinee.

Since the vaccine does not contain the virus, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine reports that there is no reason to believe that the vaccines affect the safety of breastmilk. In addition, antibodies formed from the vaccine pass through a mother’s milk, conferring some protection on the infant.

Yes. However, COVID-19 reinfection is a rare event, especially uncommon within 90 days after the initial infection. Therefore, it is recommended that you wait 90 days after the initial infection to receive the first dose of either vaccine.

The protection someone gains from having an infection (called natural immunity) varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Since this virus is new, we do not know how long natural immunity will last. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection.

Regarding vaccination, we will not know how long immunity lasts until we have more data.

No. The vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer use a genetic molecule to prime the immune system. That molecule, known as mRNA, is destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in a lipid membrane that can fuse to a cell, allowing the molecule to slip in. The cell uses the mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any moment, each of our cells may contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce in order to make proteins of their own. Once those proteins are made, cells then destroy the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules our cells make can only survive a matter of minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is engineered to withstand the cell's enzymes only long enough to allow to make non-infectious virus proteins to prompt an immune response.

Yes, the two vaccines that are available have been shown to prevent serious Covid-19 disease; however, the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. That remains a possibility. We know that people who are naturally infected by the coronavirus can spread it while they’re not experiencing any cough or other symptoms. Researchers will be intensely studying this question as the vaccines roll out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will need to think of themselves as possible spreaders.

The vaccines developed have not been shown to yield sterilizing immunity, thus, it is reasonable to assume that individuals who are vaccinated may still become infected with SARS-Co-V2, replicate virus and may thus spread it to others. We can think of vaccines as another layer of protection or mitigation measure. For the time being, Tufts policies around mask wearing, physical distancing, break room etiquette, participating in covid-19 screening (frequency defined by job description), hand hygiene, essential only travel, and wearing of face masks will remain unchanged.

Post-Vaccination Information

After receiving the vaccine, you must continue to wear a face mask, practice physical distancing and continue good hand hygiene practices. This will continue to reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus and spreading it to others. In addition, you will continue to participate in University mandated COVID-19 surveillance as well as follow all University quarantine and isolation protocols.

It is recommended that you take Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, as directed by the manufacturer, for fever, aches and pains, or headache after the vaccination.

f you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1. Those with symptoms that need evaluation off hours and do not have other options should go to the nearest Emergency Room.

All Tufts faculty, staff, employees (including dental residents and post-doctoral fellows) with questions after vaccination or who are experience adverse events or side effects should call their PCP. For after-hours questions, students may use their PCP’s on-call service or, alternatively, Tufts University employee health plans all include Telehealth services for 24/7 access to non-emergency medical care via Tufts Health Plan Teledoc.

Dental and Medical students with questions after vaccination or who are experience adverse events or side effects please call their PCP. For after-hours questions, students may use their PCP’s on-call service. Tufts Student Health plan includes 24/7 Telehealth access via http://go.healthiestyou.com/student/. Those not enrolled in the Tufts Student Health plan should consult their health insurance policies to understand after-hours care options.

Medford/Somerville/SMFA students graduate and undergraduate, including Fletcher students with questions after vaccination or who are experience adverse events or side effects please call Tufts Health Service at (617) 627-3350. For after-hours questions, students may use the Health Service’s on-call service. Tufts Student Health plan includes 24/7 Telehealth access via http://go.healthiestyou.com/student/. Those not enrolled in the Tufts Student Health plan should consult their health insurance policies to understand after-hours care options.