Dean’s Message

October 1, 2021

University Medical Center continues to vaccinate our patients and University of Alabama faculty and staff against COVID-19, and the UA Students Health Center is doing the same for the University’s students.

Vaccines are offered during regular business hours at UMC and SHC and have also been available during weekend hours at those facilities as well as at walk-up vaccination stations across the UA campus.

At UMC, we are currently administering approximately 100 COVID-19 vaccines each week, while the SHC is providing between 50 and 60 vaccines per day.

The trends we are seeing are good. Vaccination rates are slowly rising, and I’m hopeful this will continue. Nearly 61% of full-time UA students have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, almost double the 35.4% overall first-dose vaccine rate of 18-to-29-year-olds in Alabama.

UMC is administering third dose COVID-19 vaccines to UA faculty and staff and patients who qualify, and we have begun planning for COVID-19 booster shots and hope to begin providing those soon.

A third dose is an additional vaccine dose given when an initial immune response following a primary vaccine series might not be sufficient. Studies show that severely immunocompromised people have a slightly lower antibody response to the COVID-19 vaccine, which means they are not as protected against the virus as the general population. A booster shot is given when an initial sufficient immune response to a primary vaccine series wanes over time.

We are also planning for the release of data that supports approval of COVID-19 vaccines for those ages 5-11. And for the past month, we have offered monoclonal antibody therapy to certain patients, which has proved successful. To date, we have provided this therapy for more than 30 UMC patients. Monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19 can prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death in high-risk patients who have contracted or been exposed to the virus.

Data continue to bear out the protection vaccines provide against serious illness and hospitalization for COVID-19 and the delta variant. In addition, COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be remarkably safe vaccines. Vaccination is key to returning to a more normal life for people and for a successful fall semester for UA students.

The College of Community Health Sciences operates University Medical Center and the Student Health Center and Pharmacy