Person receiving vaccine injection

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

Current as of 4-14-2021
*Please note: As more information becomes available guidance may change. If you have questions related to your own personal health and COVID-19. please reach out to your health care provider.

The College will require COVID-19 vaccines for students enrolled at Grinnell for the 2021-22 academic year. The efficacy of vaccines, as well as expanded vaccine eligibility and availability, allows us to address the higher risk of transmission in a communal living environment and affirms this additional step to protect the health of our community.

As with all vaccine requirements, students may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. For students who are unable to acquire a vaccine in their home state or country, Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) will provide a vaccination upon arrival to campus in collaboration with our local public health department.

Those that do not have access to COVID-19 vaccinations outside of the U. S. should contact a SHAW nurse through the student portal to make a plan about next steps. Those that do not have access to COVID-19 vaccinations and those with medical or religious exemptions will undergo daily testing for 7 days upon arrival to campus.

At this time, the vaccine is not required for faculty or staff but is strongly encouraged.

Beginning Monday, April 5, 2021, all Iowans age 16 and above are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Those age 16-17 can receive only the Pfizer vaccine. Iowans age 18 and older can have the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

You can find information about vaccine distribution from The Iowa Department of Health. Several online tools will help make provider information easily accessible to Iowans, including the Iowa Department of Public Health Vaccine Information website, and Please keep in mind, there continues to be a very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines in Iowa and not all providers may have vaccines at the time you visit their website or call to schedule an appointment. Check back frequently as appointments may open up throughout the week. Iowans are encouraged to remain patient as more vaccines arrive in the weeks and months ahead.

Campus leaders support your choice to be vaccinated and empower supervisors and faculty to provide flexibility in work and academic scheduling to accommodate appointments. Employees may also utilize their COVID time-off allocation for vaccine appointments or for missed days due to side effects.

The CDC shares information on understanding how the COVID-19 vaccines work and how our bodies fight illness. COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

There is no cost to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

No. Providers will ask for your insurance information as part of the process for them for administrative cost reimbursements through insurance providers or the government. You will not be denied a vaccine if you do not have insurance.

Yes, since this is a federal program, individuals outlined in ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) and State of Iowa priority groups may receive COVID-19 vaccines regardless of permanent place of residence (county or state) or where the individual is seeking vaccination. It is encouraged that you go back to the location where you received your first dose to receive your second dose.

Yes. Citizenship is not a requirement to receive the vaccine. Refer to your vaccine provider’s website or call the provider with additional questions.

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19. Learn more about Myths and Facts from the CDC about COVID-19 vaccines.

The CDC shares that so far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

The CDC advises that some people may experience mild side effects, which are a sign that your body is building protection. Visit the CDC site for more information.

All three vaccines are effective. Currently, three vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19:

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC has issued updated interim guidance for those that are fully vaccinated, including new guidance for quarantine. If certain conditions are met, quarantine may not be required. Refer to your healthcare provider or Public Health official for more instructions following an exposure.

Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. The CDC shares information aims to help people in the groups make an informed decision about receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Please consult your primary care physician with questions specific to your health. 

The new CDC interim guidance outlines those activities that are safe for fully vaccinated individuals to participate in when in private settings or small gatherings. The CDC continues to recommend the use of masks and social distancing while in public, and avoiding medium to large-sized gatherings.

Yes. Wearing masks will help protect those that are unvaccinated. In addition, the sight of someone not following campus public health policies because they have received the vaccine can cause anxiety for others who are not aware of their vaccination status.

The Iowa Department of Public Health advises individuals avoid receiving any other vaccines for at least 14 days prior to receiving their COVID-19 vaccine, and for at least 14 days following their COVID-19 vaccine. Refer to your healthcare provider for more guidance or exceptions.

You are encouraged to return to the same provider on the appointed date. Although another provider may be able to provide a second dose, there are no guarantees one may be available in the prescribed timeframe or that the same vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) is utilized. The federal and state governments send second-dose allocations to match the prime-dose allocations, so scheduling both doses with the same provider will help all providers account for doses appropriately. Exceptions may be possible by contacting a provider directly to discuss your needs.

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