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Vaccine hesitancy and antibody testing

UArizona weekly COVID-19 update
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Posted at 5:14 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 20:35:09-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — The University of Arizona says students should get their first dose of vaccine by Friday if they plan to travel for summer. They are also looking for the public's help to study antibody response in people who have been vaccinated or infected by COVID-19.

UArizona is facing a new challenge in the vaccination role out. People now have easier access to the shot than ever before, but some seem unsure about rolling up their sleeves.

“We are pushing as hard as we can, said Distinguished Professor of Public Health Dr. Richard Carmona. “But we realize we are pushing up against vaccine hesitancy now.”

University of Arizona leaders want people to know the science on vaccines is solid. Research shows the risks around getting vaccinated are minimal compared to getting COVID-19.

“Think about why we don’t see polio anymore, measles, whooping cough, tetanus, these are vaccinatable diseases, and as we’ve said many times vaccines are one of the most important discoveries in the history of mankind,” said Carmona.

They also say antibody protection after vaccination might last longer than previously expected.

“We know it's at least six months and likely much longer than that,” said Associate Professor of Immunobiology Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya.

The University is asking people to sign up for testing to help them better understand the strength and duration of immunity after vaccination or infection.

Students and employees on campus can register here before testing at the Student Union Memorial Center. Anyone 18 or older can find testing locations around the state and sign up here.

“If you suspect that you had COVID-19 in the past, but were never tested for the virus itself,” said Bhattacharya. “Our studies show the antibodies stick around for some time so it's a way of measuring if you did have COVID-19 or maybe it was another respiratory infection that had nothing to do with it.”

The university is currently holding in person classes of up to 100 students. The University president says well-regulated classrooms are proven to be low-risk for spreading COVID-19. But more informal gatherings outside the classroom are a different story.

“When you are packed into a bar or a party, or a family reunion, you are hugging having a good time, shaking hands,” said President Dr. Robert C. Robbins.