April 15 - Updates on COVID-19
The road to normal starts today
What will UCI look like this fall? A lot hinges on you. There’s a big difference between how open things can be if 90% of the campus is vaccinated versus 50%. And that’s why today is a game-changer. As of midnight, everyone age 16 and older in California became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine (the rest of the nation will soon follow suit for ages 18 and up).
We urge you to take advantage and start enjoying the benefits. Vaccinated students, for example, will likely be able to avoid nasal swab virus tests and won’t have to quarantine if they travel during breaks or come in close contact with someone who has COVID. And everyone can breathe easier – literally and figuratively – with the knowledge that inoculation offers amazing protection from getting severely sick, hospitalized or dying.
Although nothing is 100%, the COVID-19 vaccines are pretty close. And they’re essential to resuming in-person classes, social gatherings, full-capacity student housing, hugs and much more. If you haven’t already gotten your free shot(s), here’s how to get started:
To find nearby vaccination appointments in California, register at the state’s MyTurn web page. (The UCI Bren Events Center is one of the locations available through MyTurn, depending on vaccine availability.) Orange County residents can also book appointments through the county’s Othena site. And students outside California can use VaccineFinder.
Persistence and patience pay off. Appointment availability varies according to supplies, so check often for newly added slots. Some people have had better luck finding appointments through pharmacies and other providers. The Orange County Health Care Agency compiled a list of vaccine distribution websites.
For lots more information, visit UCI Forward’s vaccination information hub.
We encourage you to take the first available appointment at any location, and not wait for an opening at the Bren Events Center.
TODAY'S CAMPUS UPDATES
One new campus case*
One student resident and no on-campus employees tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.
GENERAL COVID-19 NEWS
This section curates noteworthy coronavirus news, trends and opinions. No endorsement by UCI is implied. Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and OC Register for students, faculty and staff.
J&J vaccine clot risk is lower than getting hit by lightning
To put the less-than-1-in-a-million chance of getting a severe blood clot from the J&J vaccine in perspective, people face a 1-in-500,000 chance each year of being struck by lightning. “It’s important to keep these numbers in context,” said UCI’s Jonathan Watanabe, a professor of clinical pharmacy. The risk of blood clots associated with COVID infection is actually greater, he added.
How exercise may help thwart COVID
More physical activity means less risk of developing severe COVID, according to a new study. After old age and receiving an organ transplant, being sedentary was the greatest risk factor for severe illness, researchers said.
As vaccine eligibility opens up, OC plans more clinics
With California expanding vaccine eligibility to everyone age 16 and over, public health officials in Orange County are planning a new array of pop-up vaccination sites for certain harder-to-reach groups that, for various reasons, might be left behind as the immunization campaign shifts to an even higher gear.
Jobless claims fall to lowest level since pandemic began
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits tumbled last week to 576,000, a post-COVID low and a hopeful sign as the economy recovers from the pandemic recession. The Labor Department said Thursday that applications were down sharply from a peak of 900,000 in early January and well below the 700,000-plus level they had been stuck at for months.
HOPE, INSPIRATION, LAUGHTER
Amid the heartbreaking loss of life and economic hardship wrought by the coronavirus, we recognize the need for stories of kindness, hope, courage and humor.
Unusual vaccination sites, part 2
A follow-up to our previous post about offbeat shot locations includes a racetrack, an ice rink, a cathedral and a nightclub.
Dispatch from the vaccine front lines
A Q&A with Jenny Nguyen, a fourth-year pharmaceutical sciences major and pharmacy technician at the UCI Clinic in the Bren Events Center:
Question: Why did you choose to work at the UCI vaccine clinic?
Answer: Because I thought this was such a great opportunity to help out the community during a tough time. It felt pertinent and I wanted to expand my skill set, as drawing up vaccines is something I've never done before. I was trained well by the staff there and they were very supportive!
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A: Being able to directly contribute to helping us recover from the pandemic. There are so many people that have to be vaccinated, and it doesn't take just a small team. I feel like I am putting my time and efforts into something that truly matters to me and it's rewarding to meet such great people as well as see the patients so happy to get their vaccine!
Q: Why should others get vaccinated?
A: I think people are getting more and more tired of the pandemic, and it's becoming harder for people to stay indoors. If we're going out and about and seeing others, we might as well be doing it safely. We all know that COVID is easily spread and can be so harmful. Some may go out and see a friend without thinking about possible consequences, like catching COVID and bringing it home to their family, who may be more susceptible and more at risk.
If you have a shoutout, or if you’d like to share what you’ve been up to during the pandemic, send photos and/or words about your COVID-19 vaccination, activities, workstation, volunteering, etc., to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.
* Potential workplace exposure: UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.