COVID vaccine FAQs

I have been hearing from people that they want to be easily able to find and pass on info sent out in college governance reports about COVID vaccines, including vaccine myths, the colleges that will be requiring them on return to campus fall 2021 and more.

The following is a collection of excerpts from my Academic Senate reports, Faculty Association (Union) newsletter, with links to news articles and Centers of Disease Control (CDC) webpages, in chronological order.

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In an Academic Senate report, sent April 19, 2021:

Misinformation about COVID 19 vaccinations is everywhere.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has a page
Finding Credible Vaccine Information
Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, check that the information comes from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis. CDC’s vaccines and immunization web content is researched, written and approved by subject matter experts, including physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, and analysts. Content is based on peer-reviewed science.

A Foothill Classified Professional said in the chat at the Chancellors meeting:
“Every month passed from the time you’ve got those shots, your protection will decrease by %15 and by the end of 6 months period, you have zero protection against COVID-19!”
Which is not true.

And a colleague replied in the chat:
“According to the CDC, there is not enough data to make declarations about how long vaccine protection lasts yet.

We can also note that “Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, agreed that protection from these vaccines is likely to last longer than six months . . .They know at six months it’s clearly there. It more than likely will be even longer. Time will tell,” Fauci told CNN. Studies of people’s immune responses after being vaccinated against coronavirus show they produce high levels of antibodies and then, after a few weeks, the body produces immune cells, known as B cells, that continue to produce fresh protective antibodies, Fauci noted. That makes for lasting immune protection.”

At the Key Things to Know CDC page:

• COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
• You may have side effects after vaccination, but these are normal.
• It typically takes two weeks after you are fully vaccinated for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19.
• Vaccines will become widely available, in the coming months. Find a COVID-19 vaccine.
• People who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

There are also links at that page to Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines,
that are currently in circulation, such as

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day? (Yes).

Can a COVID vaccine make me sick with COVID 19? (NO.)

The CDC does not directly address this rumor heard on the airwaves

Can the COVID vaccine turn me into a Zombie?

Hmmmmm but maybe the CDC does when it answers this question:

Will a COVID vaccine alter my DNA? (NO.)

Please do consider sharing the CDC webpages. . . , as there is a lot of misinformation circulating.

and perhaps also share this:

“Krispy Kreme is providing a sweet incentive to encourage more people to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine: Free doughnuts through the end of 2021.

. . . consumers who show a valid COVID-19 vaccination card at locations nationwide will get a free Original Glazed doughnut, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based chain announced.

The freebie is valid at all 369 Krispy Kreme shops located in 41 states and available “anytime, any day, every day for the rest of the year,” Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer, told USA TODAY. No purchase is necessary.”

There are ten Krispy Kreme stores in the Bay Area.

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In an Academic Senate report, sent April 25, 2021:

There are new policies to require COVID vaccinations
at UCs, CSUs and Stanford.
They have lots of fine print.

In the Stanford Daily we read:
“Stanford will require all undergraduate, graduate and professional students coming to campus this fall to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a Thursday email from Provost Persis Drell.

The requirement comes as the availability of vaccines increases nationwide and a growing number of peer institutions — including Columbia, Yale, Brown, Princeton and Cornell — release their own plans to require the shot for their students’ return in the fall. The University of California has a similar proposal pending. . .

Students will be able to request exceptions to the requirement for medical or religious reasons, provided they are tested for COVID-19 regularly and meet potential “other” requirements, Drell wrote in the email. . .

. . . Drell added that the University is continuing to evaluate whether there will be a requirement for faculty and staff members to be vaccinated and expects to provide updates soon. ”

From the U.C. President we read

“Consistent with previous CSU announcements related to the university’s response to the pandemic, we are sharing this information now to give students, their families and our employees ample time to make plans to be vaccinated prior to the start of the fall term.”

The draft plan for Covid vaccinations for UCs includes:

“ . . . policy requires all University of California Personnel, Trainees, and Students accessing University Facilities and Programs in person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, subject to limited exceptions and exemptions, beginning before the start of the Fall 2021 term. Enforcement of the mandate will be delayed until full FDA licensure (approval) and widespread availability of at least one vaccine. Those who do not receive a vaccination on campus or provide proof of vaccination by another provider may be subject to additional safety measures.

and the policy to require vaccinations at California State University includes:

“In the interest of maintaining the health and safety of students, employees, guests and all members of campus communities, the California State University (CSU) joined the University of California (UC) today (April 22, 2021) in announcing that the universities intend to require faculty, staff and students who are accessing campus facilities at any university location to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. . .
. . . Prior to the implementation of any changes to the CSU’s existing immunization requirements, the CSU will engage the California State Student Association, the CSU Academic Senate and labor unions. The COVID-19 vaccination requirement would allow for students or employees to seek an exemption based on medical or religious grounds. The policy and related implementation details are under development and will be made available once the consultations have concluded. . . “

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In the Faculty Association (union) President’s report, sent out April 26, 2021 and posted at: along with all recent Faculty Association newsletters.

The President’s Report:

The Point of Re-return

Tim Shively

Today’s sermon is from Matthew, the Parable of the Talents. Wherein a master preparing for travel entrusts his money to his three servants. Two of them invest the sum and double their master’s property, while the third buries it in the ground, earning nothing. Guess who ends up wailing and gnashing their teeth upon the master’s return? A rough analogy may be drawn to our state community colleges’ pandemic planning for an eventual return to campus. Some districts made plans early on for reopening their campuses, abiding by state guidelines and county health regulations, but also ordering their PPE and testing supplies and strategizing about what the return might look like. Others buried their heads in the sand, remaining non-communicative to their employees about their plans (if, indeed, there were plans) and dragging their heels every step of the way in returning to some measure of an on-campus presence. Whether the underlying motive be financial (i.e. the money saved by not having to sustain operations full bore), a disinclination to return to the inconvenience of face-to-face duties, or a lawyerly avoidance of liability, I cannot say. But our own District provides a cautionary tale, claims of concern for employees’ safety notwithstanding.

One of the recent bright spots in Return to Campus (RTC) planning in our District was the De Anza “phased” plan which President Holmes revealed last month. It entailed a clear progression of which instructional programs would return when. Campus leaders were invited to the rollout, which was presented as a draft. There were parts with which FA did not agree (e.g. science labs coming back in a later phase solely because the college had already purchased student “kits” for those classes to operate remotely), but the transparency was appreciated. Unfortunately, this was in early March. While Foothill released a similar plan shortly thereafter, by way of contrast, West Valley College made public their phased plan last September. Given that both of our colleges held back in almost synchronous fashion, the delay, I surmise, was not at the college but rather the District level. Foothill had an RTC working group in operation as early as August, which included disciplinary expertise in the health sciences, the hard sciences, ventilation systems, and other crucial areas, unlike the District’s current task force, which consists solely of administrators (For more on the science of RTC planning see Amy Edwards and Sarah Cooper’s article in this issue).

Regardless of membership, notice must be made of the District’s total shirking of responsibility in regards to vaccinations. The District’s nearly complete silence on the importance of employees getting vaccinated has a lawyerly smell to it, as if the District were advised by counsel not to encourage employees to get vaccinated, lest someone have a reaction, and they might be held liable. But we’re talking about a social responsibility here, and the promotion of equitable access, which should outweigh apprehensions over the remote chance of litigation. And given the general dysfunction at the County level regarding appointments, residence status, and vaccine supplies for those employed by educational facilities, encouragement is exactly what was and still is needed. In March, I worked with other local CCC union presidents to try to get Santa Clara County to open a vaccination site on one of our campuses. At the present time, when everyone over 16 is eligible, we should already have been encouraging incoming students to get vaccinated, as an investment in returning to campus and lowering the likelihood of future infections. But it’s only now, after the CSU and UC systems announced that they will be requiring students to be vaccinated before returning to campus that state Chancellor Oakley musters up the courage to encourage CCC Districts to do the same.

The money trail also illustrates the lack of prioritization for returning to campus. While our own District’s colleges were quick to spend their share of CARES dollars that could assist students with emergency grants for living expenses and technology needed for remote instruction, they have been less so in regard to the institutional side of the equation. Of the $3,617,629 of such funds awarded to De Anza College, the most recent report for the quarter ending March 31 indicates that only $351,835 has been spent. Foothill, which initially had a more accelerated trajectory in this category, spending $326,913.16 in the first quarter ending September 30, has still only spent $574,126.71 of the total $1,200,718 awarded. While the messaging from our District displays a laissez-faire posturing in which the colleges are their own autonomous decision makers, this is belied by the District’s refusal to budge at the negotiation table regarding expenditures for faculty. As Kathy Perino puts it in her Negotiations article in this issue, “faculty are the last priority when it comes to the use of this funding.”

Then there is the impact on instructional programs. The District has taken little initiative to involve the Faculty Association in these conversations, despite early on asking Allied Health faculty to sign COVID liability release forms as a condition to return to campus, and scheduling multiple meetings with Athletics faculty to discuss their demands to be allowed to return to campus (of which FA was only alerted by the faculty themselves). To their credit, the District (with a healthy dose of FA encouragement) did agree to keep FT coaches on both campuses whole regarding their annual stipends. But despite the lifting of Santa Clara County health restrictions for on campus athletic activities and the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) publication of guidelines for the return of such activities, our Athletics programs are among the last in the state (including K-12 programs) to be allowed some sort of gradual return to campus. While some Districts are already gearing up for competitions, neither of our colleges will even be permitted on-campus conditioning until May 3. The impact on the programs and the students themselves has been devastating, with some athletes deciding to cut their losses and enroll in other, more supportive districts and an increase in the number of mental health concerns reported.

A colleague and close friend of mine, who is fully vaccinated, is nonetheless reluctant to return to campus in the near future, due to our district’s lack of action and communication regarding RTC protocols. Will employees be vaccinated? Students? What will be the new capacity of classrooms, and what will they look like in regards to PPE protections? Perhaps the District is counting on such reluctance among segments of the employee population to justify its delay in reopening altogether. But ultimately our instructional offerings are about what the students need. While there are certainly a large number of students who have mastered and prefer the remote instructional mode, there’s also a significant number who either don’t have the technological connectivity needed to operate remotely, or who simply prefer the personal connectivity of face-to-face instruction. As one of my students expressed his reconciliation to synchronous instruction to me:

“Thanks for the first class this morning! It was inspiring. I very much appreciate you making this class synchronous as it brings so much life to the topic compared to a regular online class. I’m discovering that a lot of online classes at De Anza/FH consist of simple and brief Canvas pages with a few paragraphs of ‘lectures’ and some YouTube clips–not even recorded lectures. Your literature class makes me feel like I’m in an actual college classroom…”

I don’t mean this as a dig at completely asynchronous instruction–I know many colleagues who have done it for years and continue to do it well. But as long as there are students who prefer face-to-face learning, we owe it to them to try to provide some portion of classes on campus, albeit masked, socially distanced, adequately ventilated, and with whatever other precautions we can provide. So instead of turning our colleges into the for profit style of online slag-heaps that dot the educational landscape, we encourage our District to fully commit to the difficult but ultimately rewarding path of bringing our public colleges back in some facsimile of their former selves as soon as feasible, rather than going out as supernovas whose brightness only indicates they blew it a long while before the glare was visible.”

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mentioned in the chat at the Chancellor’s zoom meeting Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Here’s a List of Colleges (190 so far, as of 4/30/2021) that Will Require Students or Employees to Be Vaccinated Against Covid-19 (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

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a part of my Academic Senate report sent May 1, 2021

Here are answers to questions I got after my report last week (see below) about UCs, CSUs and Stanford requiring COVID vaccinations for the Fall term.

When can we expect that the vaccines will get full approval?

The San Jose Mercury News reported April 25, 2021, in an editorial supporting vaccinations for college students, faculty and staff that the CSU / UC “decision to require students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated before on-campus instruction begins hinges on full approval and availability of at least one of the vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA requires that drugmakers have six months of scientific data available before they apply for full approval of vaccines. Both Pfizer and Moderna are widely expected to get an OK from the FDA early enough this summer for student, faculty and staff vaccinations to be completed before fall classes begin.

Where can we read what the California Community Colleges Chancellor has to say about whether Community Colleges such as De Anza and Foothill should require Covid vaccine for fall quarter 2021?

A press release from California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said: “Within the California Community Colleges, decisions to require vaccinations of students, staff and faculty — as well as what level of in person instruction will be offered — are made by community college districts.”

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a Consultation Task Force discussion took place on May 4, 2021.

Chancellor Judy Miner summed it up in an email:

“ I am extremely grateful to all the participants for their insights and suggestions that produced such thoughtful dialogue and look forward to future meetings.

Particularly noteworthy is the preference of attendees for our district to require our employees and students to be vaccinated if they return to campus. (Exemptions would be allowed for medical and religious reasons.) Implementation of such a requirement would be conditioned upon:

• full approval of vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration;

• adoption of a policy by the Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees; and

• establishment of administrative procedures by the Chancellor’s Advisory Council. . .

. . . Below is the summary of the Consultation Task Force discussion:

“DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: whether to require vaccinations for employees and students, any
concerns that might be subject to collective bargaining, and how to determine what students want in the fall.


Dr. Sara Cooper answered a wide range of questions regarding vaccines to inform the discussion that followed.
Representatives of faculty and staff bargaining units that had recently surveyed members about requiring vaccination for return to campus reported that a large majority who’d responded favored requiring vaccination for both employees and students, although the percentage was slightly lower for requiring vaccination for students.

After a discussion about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, 81% of participants polled in the meeting said the district should require vaccinations for employees who work on campus and 78% said they should be required for students who study on campus, allowing for medical and religious exemptions. 70% said the district should require proof of vaccination. Those who expressed reservations about requiring vaccination cited concerns about disparate impact on communities of color and students for whom accessing vaccines may be difficult.

In the meantime, there was strong sentiment that the district should more actively encourage employees and students to get vaccinated voluntarily. One suggestion was opening a vaccination site on one or both campuses. Despite repeated offers by the district from December of 2020 through February of 2021, our campuses weren’t found to have large enough spaces for mass vaccination sites, but they may be acceptable now that smaller sites are being supported. Foothill is currently exploring a partnership with Walgreens.


Task force members asked for more communication about what is being done to optimize campus safety. While it appears that much work is under way to prepare for a safe return, they said that information should be shared about the safety protocols that have been established. Some staff members have expressed concern about possibly being asked to enforce safety protocols; at the same time, they did not think that would be an appropriate role for campus police. Clear and consistent policies and procedures will be needed. There were also questions about how to deal with people who come to campus who are not students.


To assist in planning, task force members supported the idea of surveying students and employees about their feelings, desires, and needs related to returning to campus this fall. Getting a definitive answer of what to expect by surveying students can be tricky, though, because whether students want to return may depend on how many classes and support services are offered.”

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In an Academic Senate report, sent May 16, 2021:

In the New York times we read:

Why the C.D.C. Changed Its Advice on Masks

Two scientific findings altered the calculus: Vaccinated people rarely transmit the virus, and the shots are effective against variants. . .
. . recent studies confirm that people who are infected after vaccination carry too little virus to infect others,. . .
. . . Leaders at the state, city and county levels still have the authority to require masks even for vaccinated people . . . the onus of checking vaccination status will fall on shopkeepers, restaurant workers, school officials and workplace managers .. .
. . . Nationwide, only 36 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.. . “

= = = for comparison = = = has vaccination rates for Santa Clara County as of May 15, 56.4% of residents 16 years and older have completed vaccination.. 74.3% of residents 16 years and older have at least one dose.

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In an Academic Senate Report, sent May 19, 2021:

In the New York times we read:

Can the Covid Vaccine Protect Me Against Virus Variants?

Vaccines do a good job of protecting us from coronavirus, but fear and confusion about the rise of variants have muddled the message . . .

. . . While it’s true that the virus variants are a significant public health concern, the unrelenting focus on each new variant has created undue alarm and a false impression that vaccines don’t protect us against the various variants that continue to emerge . . .

The vaccines protect you, so go get vaccinated — that’s the message,” said Dr. Fauci.

“If you’re around other vaccinated people, you shouldn’t worry about it at all. Zero.””

The article has answers to these questions:
Which variant am I most likely to encounter in the United States?
Do the vaccines work against B.1.1.7? (yes, all of them do)
If the vaccines are working, why do I keep hearing about “breakthrough” cases?
Are there other variants we should be worried about?
Is it true that the variants first identified in South Africa and Brazil can “evade” the vaccines?
How much protection will the vaccines give me against the variant first seen in South Africa?
Should I still worry that the vaccines are less effective against some variants?
Am I going to need a booster shot?
Given all these unknowns about the variants, shouldn’t I just stay home even after I’m vaccinated?