Updated on 3/22 at 1:02 p.m.
Temple University students, faculty and staff in clinical settings in the College of Public Health received their second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the school on Feb. 17, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 after receiving their first dose of the vaccine in late January.
The college also administered second dose vaccines to high-risk populations across the university, including some faculty members 75 and older and security personnel, because they had extra first doses of the vaccine, said Laura Siminoff, dean of the College of Public Health.
In total between the February clinics and ongoing college vaccination efforts, the College of Public Health has administered 1,523 first doses and 1,038 second doses of the Moderna vaccine so far, Siminoff said.
Siminoff expected 99 percent of people who received their first dose of the vaccine at the College of Public Health to return for their second dose, she said. Currently, 98 percent of people eligible for a second dose have received theirs, with the remaining people eligible for their second dose on April 2, as the Moderna vaccine’s two doses are required to be administered 28 days apart.
Philadelphia is currently in phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort, which includes some essential workers, individuals 65 years and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, people who work or live in congregate settings, clergy members, people with intellectual disabilities, staff at senior centers or day programs for people with intellectual disabilities and those who take immune-suppressing medications, The Temple News reported.
Students, faculty and staff in the College of Public Health who received their first dose of the vaccine on Jan. 20, Jan. 21 or Jan. 27 were originally scheduled to receive their second dose on Feb. 17, Feb. 18 or Feb. 24, The Temple News reported.
The College of Public Health rescheduled the Feb. 18 vaccination date to Feb. 25 due to a snowstorm that shut down campus, according to an email sent to those receiving the vaccine from Susan VonNessen-Scanlin, associate dean of clinical affairs and interprofessional education at the college.
Those who received their first dose of the vaccine on Jan. 21 and were supposed to receive their second dose on Feb. 18 waited 35 days before receiving their second dose on Feb. 25. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the two doses of the Moderna vaccine be administered 28 days apart to maintain full protection, the second dose can be administered up to 42 days after the first dose.
“Most vaccines have a pretty long period before having to start a series over,” Siminoff wrote in an email to The Temple News. “Although it is unclear, by which I mean data is only preliminary, what that timeframe is for the COVID-19 vaccines, there is wide consensus that a week delay will make no difference. That said, people should always adhere to their vaccination schedule unless there is a compelling reason not to.”
The college worked to create a protocol called “RapidVax,” developed by VonNessen-Scanlin, that involved collaboration from students and faculty in different areas of the college to administer the vaccine, Siminoff said.
Students and faculty from health information management and health informatic departments designed the registration system, members from the kinesiology department registered those getting the vaccine and master’s of public health and social work students volunteered to provide information and support to those who received the vaccine, she said.
Jack Sears, a kinesiology professor, volunteered to check in individuals who were receiving the second dose of the vaccine on Feb. 17.
Sears, who also received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, wanted to volunteer so he could help create a friendly environment and ease worries for those getting the vaccine, he said.
“I think for me to go and to show that I’m in support of the vaccine, I think that sends a good message, and plus I can convey that message to my colleagues,” he said.
True Dinh, a senior public health major, and Amanda Ng, a sophomore nursing major, received their second doses of the vaccine on Feb. 24 because they are doing a hybrid internship and in-person clinicals, respectively.
The day they received their second doses, both Dinh and Ng only experienced arm soreness.
Side effects of the Moderna vaccine can include pain, swelling and redness around the injection site, as well as chills, tiredness and headache, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The second one I got this morning did not hurt nearly as bad like, my arm is a little sore, but not anything compared to how sore it was the first time,” Dinh said.
After receiving both doses of the vaccine, Dinh is comforted knowing that if she chooses to visit home, the chances of her spreading the virus to her relatives will be minimal, she said.
The CDC has not concluded whether receiving the COVID-19 vaccine prevents someone from spreading the virus to others.
New guidance from the CDC on March 8 categorizes small indoor gatherings between fully vaccinated people as “likely low risk.”
“There definitely is a huge peace of mind, but again I completely agree with like abiding by all the rules that you know an institution or like, you know, the government places, like I still plan on wearing my mask, or like, I still intend to follow the rules,” Dinh said.
Siminoff encourages generally healthy members of the student body to get the vaccine when it is available to them, she said.
“When the time comes, and vaccines are available to our largely very, very healthy student population, I hope that they too will decide to get vaccinated because even if, say for example, yourself getting COVID, you’re not going to get that sick, you still could give it to somebody who could get extremely sick or die,” Siminoff said. “So it’s very important that everybody think about it, and make a choice to not only protect themselves but protect their families and friends, their community.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated an inaccurate figure of the return rate for college-wide vaccinations from the College of Public Health. This article has been updated to reflect the college’s vaccination totals as of March 22, 2021.