University of Arkansas hosts COVID-19 panel discussion

Alice Cai, Editor/Writer/Artist

The University of Arkansas recently hosted a COVID-19 panel discussion addressing the latest vaccination rollout and the university’s plans for summer and fall.

The panel discussion featured Terry Martin, senior vice provost for Academic Affairs, Huda Sharaf, medical director of the Pat Walker Health Center, Flo Johnson, assistant vice chancellor for university housing, Melissa Harwood-Rom, dean of students, Steve Krogull, associate vice chancellor for university information technology, and Matt Mills, manager U of A Emergency Management.

Sharaf strongly recommended everyone get the vaccine when it becomes available to their group. According to Sharaf, the vaccines available on the market have about a 95% effectiveness if both recommended doses are taken. The doses should be taken 21 days apart for the pfizer vaccine and 28 days apart for the moderna vaccine.

In addressing some common misconceptions about the vaccine, Sharaf clarified that the vaccine is not a live virus and cannot give someone with a weak immune system the virus. According to Sharaf, there are very few contraindications, as the vaccine does not contain mercury, aluminum, or food allergens.

Sharaf emphasized that after taking the vaccine, it is still absolutely necessary to wear masks, physically distance, and use frequent hand hygiene, as it could take several months for our population to reach herd immunity through vaccination.

More information about the logistics of vaccination processes for the university can be found in the panel discussion.

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