Please Get Vaccinated!
Dear Rutgers Faculty and Staff Members:
Over the past few weeks, we have enjoyed a short break from the heightened public safety measures of the recent past. Please do not let this lull you into a false sense of security, especially if you are unvaccinated. We must continue to be vigilant and take significant steps now to limit the spread of the Delta variant, which is becoming the most prevalent strain circulating in the United States and in New Jersey. This variant is vastly more transmissible, and those infected with the Delta variant carry over 1,000 times the viral load as the initial strains of this disease. Even the most vigilant of the unvaccinated are susceptible, and general COVID-19 testing may now be too slow to prevent outbreaks.
Our progress in containing the global pandemic to date is mostly attributable to the availability of three remarkably effective and extremely safe vaccines. Early data shows that the available vaccines continue to be effective at preventing severe symptoms, hospitalizations, and deaths. In fact, according to data reported through June 28 by New Jersey’s Communicable Disease Service, these vaccines have been 99.92% effective at preventing contraction of the virus. Additionally, these data show that the vaccinations have been 99.998% effective at preventing hospitalizations and 99.9993% effective at preventing deaths. Indeed, and as consistently reported, this is rapidly becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated as the numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are rising dramatically while the overall vaccination rate slows down. Virtually all individuals with COVID-19 who are now in the hospital or dying are unvaccinated. I cannot emphasize enough, as the senior health administrator at this university, how important it is that every member of the Rutgers community who is able to do so be vaccinated as soon as possible.
As of today, more than 14,500 Rutgers employees have uploaded a vaccination record into our portal. Vaccination and record upload is required by August 1 for Covered Individuals (Health Care Personnel and Public Safety Personnel as defined in Policy 100.3.1), and we strongly urge every member of the Rutgers community to upload their vaccination status. All personal, health, and vaccine information shared through the portal is kept confidential in accordance with all applicable regulatory, statutory, and privacy requirements. The portal is easy to use – especially with a mobile device – and you might even win a valuable gift card!
I know that each of us cares deeply about the health and safety of our community. For your own personal safety and to protect the health of our families, friends, and colleagues, please get vaccinated and encourage everyone you know to get vaccinated as soon as possible. If you have been exempted from vaccination by the university due to a medical or religious reason, it is even more important for you to continue to wear a mask, observe social distancing, and urge others to become vaccinated to mitigate community spread.
If you or someone you know still needs to be vaccinated, our vaccination clinics are open to all and available for appointments or walk-in hours. Please visit our vaccine webpage to learn more. You can also obtain information on other locations where you can receive a vaccine at https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine.
Wishing you good health,
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University