University now offering Pfizer vaccine to SDSU community

by Trinity Bland, Managing Editor

As of July 20, San Diego State will now offer the Pfizer vaccine to increase COVID-19 vaccine access for members of the SDSU community and in preparation for an in-person fall semester.

“The addition of the Pfizer vaccine was a key priority for us to better serve our campus community, especially as we are preparing for an in-person fall,” Director of Student Health Services Libby Skiles said in an interview with SDSU Newscenter. “Our priority is to ensure a majority of students, faculty and staff get vaccinated before the first day of instruction, and we are well on that path.”

Members of the SDSU community will continue to have access to the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on campus and can schedule appointments through the online campus secure health portal HealtheConnect to receive them. Appointments for each vaccine are available at Calpulli Health Center every weekday.

SDSU Imperial Valley students, faculty and staff in addition to international students can also schedule vaccination appointments when arriving in the San Diego area. 

While the Viejas Arena on-campus vaccination site closed on June 30 after distributing over 32,000 vaccines, SHS has been providing the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines since February 2021, administering over 2,1000 vaccines to the SDSU community since its inception.

“Our partners at San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency were primarily offering Pfizer at the Viejas Arena site, and we knew many of our community members had received their first dose there and would benefit from being able to conveniently access their second dose here on campus,” Skiles, who is one of those managing the vaccine effort at SDSU in partnership with the county, told SDSU Newscenter. 

With the expansion and addition of the Pfizer vaccine in order to offer all three vaccines, all of which have Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, SHS team is focusing on increasing vaccination among students, faculty and staff before the upcoming and unprecedented academic year begins. 

The addition of the Pfizer vaccine follows a joint announcement made by the California State University and University of California systems that students, faculty, and staff would be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to access campus facilities in the fall.

The Pfizer vaccine also comes after SDSU’s recently updated facial covering policy for all those who will be on campus in the fall, regardless of the reason. The policy allows vaccinated individuals who can show proof of vaccination to go unmasked in most campus spaces.

This new addition also comes after SDSU pledged its participation in the White House COVID-19 College Challenge. An initiative designed to help end the pandemic, participating colleges and universities commit to three actions: engaging every student, faculty and staff member, organizing campus communities around vaccine efforts and ensuring universal vaccine access.

Upon receiving the vaccine, faculty and staff members are encouraged to fill out the university’s self-attestation form while students should file their vaccination records as soon as possible via HealtheConnect. 

SDSU has implemented other vaccination awareness efforts such as rewarding students with gift cards during a week-long campaign in June when they provided proof of vaccination and holding monthly drawings to award students with $50 gifts when uploading vaccine records to HealtheConnect. They also launched a Doing Our Part campaign to raise awareness about the vaccine and its misconceptions through meetings, training sessions, social media platforms and more. 

In this way, the university is emphasizing vaccine efficacy, addressing how to deal with misinformation and encouraging students to urgently obtain the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the start of the school year. With the Pfizer vaccine newly available on campus, students have an even greater opportunity to maintain their health and safety as the semester is only weeks away.

All three COVID-19 vaccines are available to students, faculty and members of the SDSU community by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled online through the HealtheConnect portal. 

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