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Information around the available vaccines for COVID-19 has been developing rapidly, and Loyola University Chicago has been keeping up with ongoing developments about vaccine availability and distribution plans. On this page you will find vaccination information to assist the Loyola community, information about who qualifies for the vaccine, where appointments are available, when you can get vaccinated, and more.

Reporting your vaccination status

Loyolans can now upload their COVID-19 vaccination cards to the Loyola Health function of the Loyola mobile application. The Wellness Center will verify your vaccination card after it is uploaded. You should not submit a copy of your vaccination card by email.

To upload your card, please follow the steps outlined below:

  • Open the Loyola mobile app and select the “Loyola Health” function. From there, you will see a login page. Log in using your UVID and password.
  • After logging in, select “Upload Vaccination” on the top menu.
  • Select the vaccine type (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson), enter the date of your first and/or second doses, and upload your vaccination card. An image of the upload form can be found below.
  • After entering all information, click “Submit” to save the vaccination card.

Please note that the verification process through the Wellness Center will take some time. We appreciate your patience.
 
All Private Health Information at Loyola, including your vaccine records, is kept in strict confidence and protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant applications and storage. Learn more.

Vaccine basics

Who should get the vaccine?

In general, all members of the Loyola University Chicago community are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible to do so. Currently, the vaccines are approved for use in adults ages 18 and up (or ages 16 and up in the case of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine). If you have already had COVID-19, it is still safe and recommended that you receive the vaccine.

Some individuals may have additional considerations when it comes to being vaccinated, such as allergies, pregnancy, or a suppressed immune system. Data is still emerging on some of these areas. You should consult with your health care provider if you have specific questions about whether it is safe for you to receive the vaccine.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for three COVID-19 vaccines. EUA allows for rapid and widespread distribution of medical products based on scientific evidence to support their use and no available alternatives in an emergency situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important to note that the level of scrutiny for EUA products is similar to a fully licensed FDA product, and the FDA continues to collect data on EUA products and conducts additional review prior to granting full licensure.

The approved COVID-19 vaccines have undergone large clinical trials that enrolled thousands of patients before being granted EUA. The United States also has a reporting system to track vaccine usage and spot potential problems, and the COVID-19 vaccines are being monitored in the same manner. To date, no serious safety concerns have been reported in relation to the available vaccines.

For additional information on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, please see this site.

What are the potential side effects?

It is common with vaccines to experience some side effects, although the specific reaction to the vaccine differs from person to person. (It is similar to the way some people respond to receiving their annual flu vaccine.)

One of the most commonly reported side effects is pain or swelling in the spot where the person received their injection. Other common reactions are headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and chills, which can be mild to moderate in severity and usually only last a day or two after receiving the shot. These are signs that your immune system is responding to the vaccine, which is a positive. If symptoms persist or become more severe, you should consult your physician.

Versions of the vaccines

What is the difference between the available vaccines?

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines with EUA available in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are what are known as mRNA vaccines while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Both types produce the same intended result, which is that the immune system produces antibodies to fight the virus.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses (recommended to be three weeks apart) and is approved for use in anyone ages 16 and up. It has a 94.9 percent efficacy rate in the United States.

Moderna’s vaccine also requires two doses, recommended at four weeks apart, and is approved for ages 18 and up. It has a 94.1 percent efficacy rate in the United States.

The primary difference of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it requires only one dose. It is also approved for ages 18 and up and has a 72 percent efficacy rate, although it has an 85.4 percent efficacy against severe disease, which is higher than that of Pfizer.

During clinical studies, there were no COVID-19 deaths among anyone who had been given any of the vaccines.

**NOTE: On April 13, 2021, in a joint statement, the FDA and CDC called for a pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccine use after six reported cases of rare blood clots. Potential adverse reaction to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine appears to be extremely rare, and the vaccine has still proved to be very effective in preventing illness. If you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are experiencing abnormal side effects, please contact your health care provider.

This pause should not limit Chicago and Illinois residents from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. According to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Moderna and Pfizer make up the vast majority of doses currently on hand in Illinois. 

 

Does it matter which version I get?

In short, no. Although they vary in efficacy, all three vaccines considered to be very effective. Individuals should whichever vaccine is available to them as soon as they are eligible.

What happens if I miss my second dose? Do I have to start all over again?

There's no recommendation to restart the process if you miss a dose, and with a limited supply of vaccines this is likely not possible. The CDC has said that vaccinating someone out to six weeks after their first dose of an mRNA vaccine is thought to be efficacious. Beyond that it is still possible to get the second dose, but data does not yet exist on how effective it will be.

Vaccine science

Can vaccinated individuals still spread COVID?

While it seems that COVID-19 vaccination adequately protects against asymptomatic infection, we do not know that for certain. What data we do have indicates that those who are vaccinated appear to 70 percent protected from asymptomatic infection, and more data on this is emerging. Therefore, there is still chance for infection despite vaccination. Regardless of whether or not you are vaccinated, individuals still need to wash their hands frequently, wear masks, social distance, and follow CDC guidance. 

Should I be hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine hesitancy is a real issue, and it can pose a barrier to achieving herd immunity if a sizeable portion of the population opts out of receiving the vaccine. Therefore it is important that everyone who is able to get vaccinated does so.

There has been longstanding suspicion about vaccines in general, much of which has been fueled by misinformation. However, while we are still learning more about the COVID-19 vaccines available and their impact, research shows us that getting vaccinated not only protects the that person but protects other people who may not develop an adequate immune response to vaccines. If you have specific concerns about your own situation, please talk to your health care provider.

What are the different variants of the virus that causes COVID-19?

Viruses mutate and evolve as they replicate. As of late January, there were over 350,000 SARS coV2 genome sequences logged into the open access global science initiative. Within those sequences, there were over 20,000 mutations documented. Most of these variants are not of concern, but those that are spreading and becoming more prevalent are considered concerning. Right now, the top three variants are those that were first identified in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.

At the moment, though, we know that the vast majority of the viruses in the United States are neutralized by vaccine antibodies. Vaccination, as well as mitigation practices, greatly reduce the spread of the virus.

Will the vaccine protect against all strains of the virus?

Information about the characteristics of COVID-19 variants is still emerging. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily they spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will fully protect people against them. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during the pandemic and additional work is needed to know how widely distributed the variants are and how they impact the characteristics of disease and effectiveness of current therapies, tests, and vaccines.

How effective are the different vaccines?

The approved COVID-19 vaccines vary in efficacy but are all considered to be very effective. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and is approved for patients 16 years and older. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is 94.1 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and is approved for patients 18 years and older. Both vaccines are given by injection and, to gain a high level of protection, as 2-dose series. The Pfizer vaccine doses are given 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine doses are given 28 days apart.

The newest vaccine from Johnson & Johnon is 72 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and approved for patients 18 years and older. It is a single-dose vaccine and given by injection.

What is herd immunity? How will we achieve it?

Achieving "herd immunity" or "community immunity" is a situation where a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely. In this setting, even unvaccinated persons may be protected because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community.

It is estimated that 70 percent or more of the U.S. population will need to be immune to achieve community immunity to COVID-19. We need to make additional significant progress with COVID-19 vaccination to achieve such a level of immunity in the U.S.

Vaccine distribution

Who can get the vaccine?

In the City of Chicago, vaccines will be available to anyone above the age of 16 who works in or is a resident of Chicago. At this time, none of the vaccines are authorized for anyone under the age of 16.

Vaccine trials are taking place for children under the age of 16. Data is expected to be available before the end of the year. If the data finds the vaccines to be effective for children, hopefully there will be approval and ideally vaccinations for this group will begin by early next year.

Which phase do I qualify for?

Vaccine qualification varies from state to state and from municipality to municipality. Cook County and Illinois are very similar in their vaccination plans, which is patterned after the CDC guidance. Timing of the phases below is determined by supply, and supply is currently very limited.

Phase 1A includes healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff, who have all been eligible to receive the vaccine since December 15.

Phase 1B opened up eligibility to frontline essential workers, first responders, grocery store workers, daycare workers, those working in K-12 education, and people who are age 65 and older.

Phase 1C, which is slated to begin on March 29, will include other essential workers plus people who are age 16 to 65 with an underlying condition. This phase will include higher education staff and faculty, people working in transportation, food service, construction services, and many other essential groups who did not qualify in Phase 1A or 1B.

Phase 2 will include anyone above the age of 16 who wasn't in one of the designated phases above. This is where most college students will be eligible to get vaccinated.

To learn more about the City of Chicago’s distribution plan, click here.

Are Loyola students eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

As of April 19, all students are eligible to register for COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Chicago or elsewhere in the state of Illinois. Loyola encourages students to schedule an appointment for vaccination. If you have not already, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment for your vaccination.

We know that scheduling an appointment takes patience and perseverance. We encourage all Loyolans to make an appointment and receive the vaccine as soon as you are able, as the vaccine will help protect your health and the health of the entire Loyola community.

Below are some general resources on the vaccine and finding appointments:

When can I expect to get the vaccine?

If you qualify in Phases 1A or 1B, you are eligible now to receive your vaccine. Phase 1C begins on March 29. On April 12, vaccination will open to Illinois residents outside of Chicago who are 16 years of age or older. On May 1, Chicago expects to open vaccination to all Chicagoans age 16 and older.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Your vaccination site will depend largely upon where you live. The most up-to-date information will be found on your state or city public health department website. 

Vaccine appointments are now available at Loyola Medicine. If you are an existing LUHS patient, please view the MyLoyola Scheduling Covid Vaccine document for instructions on how to schedule your appointment. If you are a new LUHS patient, please view the Create MyLoyola account document to get started.

Students can also get vaccinated at one of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s College Vaccination Days

For people living or working in Chicago, you can register to receive a vaccine at zocdoc.com/vaccine. This site is also being used by many other states. In addition, COVID Coach is an app operated by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) where you can find all of the details for the City of Chicago's testing plans, vaccination registration, and information on where you can register for a vaccine. The United Center in Chicago is also taking appointments as a mass vaccination site. 

VaccineFinder, the official CDC website, and NPR also have resources that can help you find a vaccine distribution site. The information on these sites is constantly being updated, so please consult them on a very regular basis. Wherever you do go to get vaccinated, please understand that your provider will not have any control over their supply or which vaccine they can offer. 

Can I get vaccinated at Loyola?

Loyola Medicine is now scheduling appointments for vaccinations. However it is not feasible at this time for Loyola University Chicago to provide vaccines on its other campuses. For information on how to schedule an appointment through Loyola Medicine, or at another site, please see "Where can I get vaccinated?" above.

Loyola vaccine planning

Why is the vaccine important to our campus community?

From our vantage point here at the University, nothing is more important than for our community members to get vaccinated. Receiving a vaccination will protect you, your family, friends, and colleagues, your campus community, the city, the nation, and the world. Getting the vaccine is the biggest and brightest light we've had in this very dark COVID-19 tunnel; whenever you are able, please get the vaccine.

When can Loyola faculty/staff/students get the vaccine?

All Loyola faculty and staff who have not already been vaccinated in Phase 1A or 1B will be eligible to receive the vaccine when Phase 1C begins on March 29. This will include anyone who is teaching in a classroom, including graduate students. Loyola staff and faculty are encouraged to take time off to get vaccinated, if necessary.

Undergraduate students and graduate students who are not teaching in a classroom will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 2, which experts predict will begin in Chicago on May 1.

How can I notify Loyola that I have received the vaccine?

Loyolans can now upload their COVID-19 vaccination cards to the Loyola Health function of the Loyola mobile application. The Wellness Center will verify your vaccination card after it is uploaded. You should not submit a copy of your vaccination card by email.

To upload your card, please follow the steps outlined below:

  • Open the Loyola mobile app and select the “Loyola Health” function. From there, you will see a login page. Log in using your UVID and password.
  • After logging in, select “Upload Vaccination” on the top menu.
  • Select the vaccine type (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson), enter the date of your first and/or second doses, and upload your vaccination card. An image of the upload form can be found below.
  • After entering all information, click “Submit” to save the vaccination card.

Please note that the verification process through the Wellness Center will take some time. We appreciate your patience.
 
All Private Health Information at Loyola, including your vaccine records, is kept in strict confidence and protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant applications and storage. Learn more.
 
 

Is the vaccine covered by Loyola health insurance plans?

Yes. Both Loyola’s health plan provider Aetna and prescription benefit provider CVS are covering vaccine administration at 100 percent, not subject to any copays or deductibles.

Will Loyola require students to be vaccinated?

After reviewing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the University’s COVID-19 Health Care Advisory Working Group, we've determined that the most effective, efficient, and safest way to return to campus is to require all students to be vaccinated from COVID-19 before returning for the fall 2021 semester. Exemptions for medical contraindications or religious reasons consistent with our current policy will be granted.

If not fully vaccinated (two weeks after your last dose) by the start of the 2021-2022 academic year or your move-in date, students will be unable to live in residence halls, attend in-person classes, or participate in on-campus events. 

 

 

What to expect on campus

Will vaccines change Loyola’s health and safety requirements?

All members of the Loyola community are expected to follow our required personal safety practices while on any of the University’s campuses. This includes individuals who have completed their COVID-19 vaccine series.

Until our region reaches herd immunity, Loyolans should think of a COVID-19 vaccine as another layer of protection, not as a silver bullet. Although effectiveness of these vaccines is extremely high, they do not work in every individual case. And while the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing severe illness, more research is needed to determine how well the vaccines prevent transmission, especially in asymptomatic carriers. If vaccinated people do not wear masks and socially distance until more people receive their vaccine, the virus could continue circulating.

Will I still need to be tested after getting the vaccine?

For all students, faculty, and staff who have received a complete COVID-19 vaccine series, we ask that you continue to participate in our surveillance testing program if you plan to spend time on our Chicagoland campuses. We had previously indicated that individuals would be excused from surveillance testing after they received their second dose of vaccine. However, we do not yet know precisely how effective the vaccines are in preventing asymptomatic infection that could spread to others lacking COVID-19 immunity. In addition, data are still emerging regarding how COVID-19 variants may influence vaccine effectiveness, and we want to err on the side of caution.

We take testing compliance seriously and will continue to monitor for isolated instances of non-compliance. For more information about our testing program, click here.

How does vaccine distribution affect decision-making at Loyola?

Current federal projections indicate that there will be enough vaccine supply for all American adults by the end of May. Thus, much of our Loyola community likely will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by the start of the fall 2021 semester. Given that possibility, we are optimistic that we can return fully to our Chicagoland campuses in fall 2021 with in-person classes and residence hall occupancy, assuming those plans are legally allowed and medically advisable.

All operating decisions going forward will be based on a variety of metrics, including vaccination rates, local COVID-19 case counts, and testing positivity rates. We also expect to receive additional guidance in the coming months from Loyola experts and public health officials from the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois.

Many details about our phased reopening are still being finalized. Check back soon for updates about in-person classes, Residence Life, event planning, student activities, University travel, and workplace staffing.

Resources and General Information


To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, their safety and efficacy, and national rollout plans, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

National Public Radio’s health news website is also an excellent resource for the latest news on the vaccines and their distribution around the country, with answers to many common questions.

Distribution plans

Distribution of the COVID vaccine varies from state to state, and even from one municipality to the next. Please check with your state or city public health office for local information.

The Chicago Department of Public Health has developed a vaccine website with information on how and where to get vaccines in the city, as well as the Chi COVID Coach, a tool to help the city’s residents stay updated on vaccine rollout in Chicago.

For information on the state of Illinois, please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

Finding an appointment

If you qualify to receive the vaccine, Loyola encourages you to schedule a vaccination appointment anywhere they are available. Consider checking with your health care provider, pharmacy, and these helpful sites to find an appointment:

Vaccinations and the Loyola community

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines, how they will be distributed, and Loyola's future plans around vaccinations, watch our recent webinar below.

Last Modified:   Thu, April 22, 2021 2:14 PM CDT