Despite the small print, the importance of testing for anyone experiencing symptoms to stop the spread of COVID-19 is still crucial. As part of its continued commitment to serving the wider community, Auraria Campus continues to offer free COVID-19 test to students, faculty, staff and the public at Fifth Street Garage.
“At this time, we have provided over 50,000 free tests at Fifth Street Garage over the past year, of which approximately one-third of these tests were delivered to Auraria ingredients,” said Steve Monaco, CEO, Health Center at Auraria.
The demand for testing fluctuates in response to infection rates.
“During the peak of Omicron in the last month and a half, we managed close to 3,000 tests a day,” says Monaco. “These numbers have dropped significantly since we stepped in in February, just as the numbers have dropped at other state test sites. We now manage between 200-300 daily.”
Both Auraria Campus affiliates and members of the community continue to benefit from and build immunity to vaccines and boosters.
“Our center in Denver has made it possible for all of our surrounding communities to access our services,” says Monaco. “The first two images of Pfizer and Moderna are obviously important. But when Omicron appeared, the importance of a booster shot became significantly more relevant.”
Many immunizations, including the flu vaccine, do not necessarily prevent a person from becoming ill, but significantly reduce symptoms and severity. According to three recent CDC studies, COVID booster shots were 90% effective in preventing Omicron hospitalizations and 82% effective in preventing emergency room and emergency care visits.
“Members of the Auraria Campus have worked hard to adopt a vaccine access strategy and expectations that focus on justice and an ethic of caring for others in our community,” said Jennifer Reich, PhD, professor of sociology at CU Denvers College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which is a national expert on the issue of vaccine hesitation. “COVID vaccines are extremely effective in preventing hospitalization and death. Although they do not completely eliminate the risk of infection or transmission, they are an important tool in preventing the spread of disease and serious illness.”
Working to dispel vaccine myths
Monaco and his staff continue to work to dispel lingering myths about vaccines. “One is that the shot is going to make me really sick,” he says, “getting sick from COVID is much worse than any minor symptoms you may experience in 24-48 hours.”
Another erroneous belief: “People say, ‘I get it anyway, so why get the vaccine?’ Yet vaccines against COVID reduce the risk of infection and transmission, even if it is not completely eliminated, says Monaco. “People need to be vaccinated not only for themselves but for everyone they come in contact with, and the loved ones wants to protect. “
Reich agrees. “Some people mistakenly claim that since infection is still possible, there is no point in getting a vaccine. This is a misunderstanding of what vaccines can do. Instead, we should be reminded that saving lives is an essential goal, and vaccines are a tool to do that. “
CU Denver requires all students, faculty, and staff to be updated on their vaccines, including a booster shot. Find the latest on what you can do to protect yourself and others and support CU Denver’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 here.