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SXU Celebrates National Health Center Week With Vaccine Education


It's National Health Center Week, and Saint Xavier University's (SXU) Health Center is celebrating by educating the community about the COVID-19 vaccine. The Health Center, which serves students, faculty, staff and members of the community, is a nurse practitioner-led primary care clinic that provides a variety of services and holistic care to its diverse patient population. As the nation works to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Center is playing its part by providing essential information and administering the vaccine to the community.

The Health Center wants the community to know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Nearly 350 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been given in the United States under the most intense safety monitoring in history. The new Delta variant, the current predominant strain of the virus in the United States, is more contagious and spreads faster, making the need for vaccination more urgent than ever. Though there have been breakthrough cases, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that 99.999% of vaccinated Chicagoans have not been hospitalized and have not died of COVID-19, an incredible statistic that illustrates the vaccines' effectiveness.

"Scientists have been studying both mRNA technology and coronaviruses for decades. Scientists used the knowledge they gained with this research to sequence the virus and get clinical trials started for vaccines very quickly, but no corners were cut in the development of the vaccines," said Kathryn Schlee, FNP-BC, director of Clinical Services.

There are currently three vaccines approved under Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are both mRNA vaccines that require two doses to be effective, and the Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine is a viral vector single-dose vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend one brand over the other.

At the Health Center, getting vaccinated is quick and easy. The Health Center currently offers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is the only vaccine approved for youth as young as the age of 12. When receiving the vaccine, patients will fill out a short form and may ask questions. Once the vaccine is administered, patients will receive a COVID-19 vaccination record card as proof of vaccination and will stay in the Health Center for 15 minutes to be observed for any severe reaction, which is extremely rare. There is no cost for the vaccine, though patients' insurance may be billed for the administration.

"I chose to get vaccinated because getting vaccinated is the best and easiest way to protect myself and others from contracting COVID-19. It's also the only way we can hope to get back to how things were before the pandemic. Getting vaccinated at the Health Center was quick and painless. Everyone there was kind and helpful," said Lauren Banicki, a psychology student.

"I chose to get vaccinated to help prevent COVID-19 or to lessen the symptoms of a breakthrough case. Both my children and husband received the vaccine too. The staff at the Health Center are so friendly and knowledgeable. My daughter doesn't do well with needles, so they took her to a room and had her lay down for the injection," said Kathryn Fitzgerald, student accounts coordinator for the Office of the Bursar.

Schlee recommends discussing any concerns about the vaccine with a physician and is also happy to speak with community members about specific questions they may have. During this year's National Health Center Week, SXU is grateful for the Health Center's high-quality health care delivery system and its dedicated staff, who selflessly serve the community day in and day out on a mission to educate others and improve health outcomes.

Appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can be scheduled online with Zocdoc or by calling the Health Center at 773-298-3712.