We’re a month away from the start of classes for the 2021/22 Academic Year and I believe we are all looking forward to seeing colleagues face to face again – even with facemasks firmly in place.
Having worked closely with our University leadership for the past year and a half on our responses to COVID, I know how carefully decisions are being made within the ever shifting landscape of emerging variants and risk. We are monitoring the status of the virus weekly and evaluating local and national conditions to inform our decision-making on a regular basis.
I also want to state clearly that as a physician and Campus Public Health Officer, I am a strong advocate for the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Please get a vaccine wherever you can and as soon as you can. It is the best way to keep ourselves and our communities safe.
You have a little more than a week to take advantage of the state of Minnesota offer of $100 to everyone vaccinated through August 15.
Vaccination is free. There should be no charge for administering the vaccine. It is available on the Twin Cities campus at Boynton Health, or you can find vaccination sites via MN Vaccine Connector, Vaccine Spotter, vaccines.gov, texting your ZIP code to 438829, or calling 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.
There are no-cost, walk-in clinics at the MSP airport and Mall of America for some limited dates. Free public clinics are available in Ramsey County. Vaccinations are offered at private clinics, CVS/Target, Walgreens (you need to create account), Walmart (you need to create account), Cub Foods, and many local pharmacies.
If you need transportation, try Lyft for free or reduced rates, and sometimes a clinic will come to your area.
Per the CDC, international students who have received a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine (currently Sinovac, Sinopharm, Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and Moderna) do not need to be revaccinated in the U.S. at this time.
I will continue to work with University leaders to monitor the ever-evolving situation and know decisions will always be based on public health data and science, informed by trends and analysis on a more measured basis.