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Performing Public Health Advisory: COVID-19 Vaccinations

Performing Public Health Advisory: Covid-19 Vaccinations

By Edith Moore Hubert, Jacksonville University, Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts and Kaitlyn Wittig Menguc, Artist & Arts Consultant

Since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) outbreak, both the collective scientific understanding of COVID-19 and public health recommendations have changed.1 The efforts and accomplishments of the global scientific community, from identifying the new virus, sequencing its genome, identifying mechanisms of transmission and – most important of all – developing an effective vaccine in record time, are nothing short of incredible. 

A crucial component in stopping the spread of the virus is getting vaccinated against COVID-19. An increase in vaccine supply has led to increasingly-more vaccines being administered to individuals around the country.2 It’s important to remember that it may take several months for a significant percentage of the general population to be vaccinated. Vaccine distribution plans, including eligibility requirements, vary by state; refer to your local public health department for information on regional vaccine distribution. The websites, newsletters, and social media accounts of local hospitals or healthcare facilities, one’s trusted physician, and local pharmacies may also provide vaccine distribution updates. Websites like VaccineFinder can identify vaccine providers based on zip code and sites like Vaccine Hunter can link individuals to local social media sites that share information about surplus vaccinations. Be advised that vaccine providers may require an appointment and individuals may still need to meet specific eligibility criteria. President Biden will be directing all States, Tribes, and Territories to extend eligibility to all adults no later than May 1, 2021.3

It is natural for individuals to have questions and concerns about new vaccines. The CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine homepage is a useful resource for up-to-date information related to the different vaccines being administered in the US, myths and facts about COVID-19 vaccines, preparing for your vaccination appointment, and other frequently asked questions. This resource also contains information on the possible side effects of getting vaccinated including details for people with allergies. Mass vaccination is an important step in stopping the COVID-19 pandemic.4 The CDC provides useful guidance in their resource, How to talk about COVID-19 vaccines with friends and family as we seek to achieve widespread vaccine administration.

With the spread of several virus variants throughout the United States, it is critical to stay abreast of information about COVID-19 cases and vaccine distribution in one’s own community.5 COVID-19 is spread through airborne transmission and it remains crucial for individuals to avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, particularly in light of variants against which the new vaccines may not be effective.6,7,8 Furthermore, individuals, organizations, and communities should continue aggressive infection control efforts such as enforcing physical distancing and mask-wearing guidelines even if some individuals have completed their vaccination process.9 For specific guidance related to gatherings between fully vaccinated persons or between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People is a useful and reliable source.

One aspect of mitigation that deserves greater emphasis is ventilation. When gathering indoors, ventilate with outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors.10 Turning on exhaust fans can also be useful.11 Homes, schools, businesses, and other shared spaces should update their HVAC systems with a MERV 13 filter, or the highest filter that their systems can allow, and may consider increasing the outdoor air intake (you may need to consult a professional and should always refer to your owner’s manual).9 Dr. Kimberly Prather, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry at UC San Diego, provides a very clear explanation of aerosol spread and practical means of prevention in this interview with Dr. Jonathan LaPook, chief medical correspondent for CBS News.

In this time of ongoing change, with hope on the horizon and pandemic fatigue setting in, it is still vitally important to keep abreast of the latest information about the spread of COVID-19. The Mayo Clinic’s U.S. Coronavirus map illustrates virus trends and predicts COVID-19 hot spots. To track current vaccination data by state, the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker is useful. A unique way to stay current is to follow real real-time conversations by experts in public health, infectious disease, epidemiology, airborne virus transmission, atmospheric chemistry, air pollution, environmental and fluid engineering. In addition to following your local public health department and local health care providers on social media, active Twitter feeds of experts in some of the aforementioned fields can be found in the dropdown menu below.

Learn more about the Performing Public Health Initiative: Advisory | Remote Culture | Unique Precarities

Follow the Experts on Twitter

Dr. Kimberly Prather (@kprather88) Atmospheric Chemist, Professor at University of California San Diego.
Dr. Shelly Miller  (@ShellyMBoulder) Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Dr. Jose-Luis Jimenez (@jljcolorado) Professor of Chemistry, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Dr. Linsey Marr (@linseymarr) Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech.
Dr. Richard Corsi (@CorsIAQ) Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Portland State University.
Dustin Poppendieck (@Poppendieck) Environmental Engineer in the Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Dr. Joseph Allen (@j_g_allen) Director of the Healthy Buildings program and Associate Professor at Harvard, School of Public Health.
Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt46) White House Senior Advisor, COVID Response.
Dr. Esther Choo (@choo_ek) Associate Professor in the Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University.
Dr. Don Milton (@Don_Milton) Professor of Environmental Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine.
Dr. Céline Gounder (@celinegounder) Infectious Disease Specialist, Internist, Epidemiologist, served on the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.
Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) Epidemiologist and health economist and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists


The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. (2020). COVID-19 transmission—up in the air. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 8(12), 1159.

Biden, J (2021, March 2). President Biden Remarks on COVID-19 Pandemic [Transcript]. Retrieved from

The White House Briefing Room. (2021, March 11). Fact Sheet: President Biden to Announce All Americans to be Eligible for Vaccinations by May 1, Puts the Nation on a Path to Get Closer to Normal by July 4th [Press release].  fact-sheet-president-biden-to-announce-all-americans-to-be-eligible-for-vaccinations-by-may-1-puts-the-nation-on-a-path-to-get-closer-to-normal-by-july-4th/

Mayo Clinic. (2021, March 3). Herd immunity and COVID-19 (coronavirus): What you need to know.Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 18). US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants. Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

Michael Klompas, MD, MPH, Meghan A Baker, MD, ScD, Diane Griesbach, NP, Robert Tucker, MPH, CIC, Glen R Gallagher, PhD, Andrew S Lang, PhD, Timelia Fink, MPH, Melissa Cumming, MS, CIC, Sandra Smole, PhD, Lawrence C Madoff, MD, Chanu Rhee, MD, MPH, Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals in healthcare settings despite medical masks and eye protection, Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2021;, ciab218,

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 28). How COVID-19 Spreads. Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 19). Considerations for Community-Based Organizations. Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 9). When You've Been Fully Vaccinated; How to Protect Yourself and Others.    Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2020, May). How can I increase ventilation at home to help protect my family from COVID-19? Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 9). Ventilation in Buildings. Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

Schoen, L. J. (2020, May). Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic [pdf]. ASHRAE.

Blog Authors
  • Edith Moore Hubert, Jacksonville University, Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts
  • Kaitlyn Wittig Menguc, Artist & Arts Consultant

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