After several months of vaccine rollout, the moment many college students have been anticipating has arrived — Illinoisians over the age of 16 are now eligible to register to get the COVID-19 vaccine as of April 12, according to an email from Loyola.
The email from Loyola to the community encouraged all students to register to get the vaccine if they’re able. It also included links to where students can find more information about where to get the vaccine, since Loyola itself isn’t distributing it.
A full vaccine eligibility schedule can be found on the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) website.
The Phoenix has compiled information on where to get the vaccine, what to do after the shot and Loyola’s plans for the future regarding the vaccine.
Where can I get the vaccine?
Appointments and vaccination locations in the Chicagoland area and can be found on the IDPH website. Students can also find appointments and vaccination locations in Indiana on the Indiana Department of Public Health website.
How can I report my vaccine status to the university?
Students can now upload their COVID-19 vaccination cards to the Loyola Health section of the Loyola app. After students upload their card, the Wellness Center will verify it, according to the Loyola website.
To upload the vaccination card, go to the Loyola mobile app and select the “Loyola Health” section. After logging in, select “Upload Vaccination” on the top menu. From there, select the vaccine you received — Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — and enter the date of your first and second dose. Then, upload your vaccination card. After entering all information, click “Submit” to save the vaccination card, according to the Loyola website.
Anna Shymanski Zach, a Loyola Spokesperson, said Loyola is asking students, faculty and staff to upload their vaccination card to the app to help the university better gauge how many of the community members are currently vaccinated. Uploading the vaccination card isn’t required at this time but is strongly encouraged by the university, according to Shymanski Zach.
Do Loyola students still need to participate in surveillance testing after receiving the vaccine?
Loyola previously said students would be excused from the regular COVID-19 testing after they received their second dose. However, with uncertainty in the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing asymptomatic carriers from spreading the virus to those lacking immunity, the university is now asking all students and faculty to continue with surveillance testing — even if vaccinated — if they plan to be on campus, according to the website.
How does the vaccine affect the fall semester at Loyola?
Current federal projections say there will be enough vaccines for adults by the end of May. Because of this, it’s likely most of the Loyola community will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by the start of the fall semester.
The fact most students and faculty could be vaccinated by this point is one of the reasons Loyola is optimistic students may be able to return fully for the fall semester with in-person classes and residence hall occupancy. Assuming those plans coincide with the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the IDPH, The Phoenix previously reported.
“As we prepare to be fully in-person this fall, we strongly encourage our students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible,” Shymanski Zach said in an email to The Phoenix. “From our vantage, nothing is more important than for our community members to get vaccinated, as doing so will help protect the health of our campus community, city, nation, and world.”
Will Loyola require students to be vaccinated?
The university said it’s still deciding if it will require the vaccine for students and faculty at some point in the future, according to its website. Since the vaccine is still under emergency-use authorization, no one is requiring people to get it, according to the CDC website.
Though other Chicago universities such as Northwestern and DePaul also have yet to make a decision about a COVID-19 vaccine requirement, some universities such as the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and Duke University in North Carolina are requiring their students to have received the vaccine before returning to campus in the fall, NPR reported.