Monday, February 15, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine update: Frequently asked questions

Q: Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

A: Yes. Like other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines must go through multiple phases of rigorous testing, analysis, and review as they are developed. This ensures that the vaccines meet high safety and efficacy standards.

Before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for emergency use authorization, they sought recommendations from a multidisciplinary team of experts, including independent medical officers, microbiologists, chemists, epidemiologists, and other health experts.

Although the speed of COVID-19 vaccine development was faster than typical, no step in the process was skipped.

For additional information on frequently asked questions related to the vaccine, see these UI Health Care COVID-19 vaccine resources. For campus vaccine updates, see the UI’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information page.

Be aware of COVID-19 scams

The University of Iowa is asking its community members to beware of scammers looking to take advantage of you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many emerging scams can compromise your personal information. Read below for information on how to curb COVID-19 scammers and always be sure to rely on official government/reputable websites for information.

Phishing scams

Phishers—cybercriminals who trick people into providing passwords or personal information—seize opportunities like vaccination campaigns to send fraudulent email or other types of messages.

Vigilance is key to stopping phishing. Beware of messages that ask you to provide passwords, account numbers, etc., or direct you to unfamiliar websites. Don’t open email attachments unless you’re confident they are from someone you know.

Trust your instincts—if an email looks suspicious in any way, delete it. Learn more about phishing and see real examples of phishing attacks.

Recognize robocalls or robotext messages

Be suspicious about any unexpected calls or text messages regarding COVID-19 tests, supplies, or information. Do not respond, or open hyperlinks in, text messages about COVID-19 from unknown individuals.

Don’t share your vaccine card on social media

By sharing your vaccination card on social media, you are sharing your full name, birthday, and where you received your vaccine with scammers who can steal your identity or even create fake vaccination cards. Be careful how you share news of your inoculation with the rest of the world. Instead, share a photo of your vaccine sticker or set a frame around your profile picture.

Beware of contact tracing scammers

Be prepared to know the difference between a real contact tracer and a scammer. Real contact tracers ask for health information and do not need money or personal financial information. If you encounter a similar situation, remove yourself from the conversation.

Be wary of ads for test kits

Watch out for non-FDA-approved COVID-19 test kits. Many at-home kits are not accurate and don’t provide the accurate and rapid results you are seeking.

Identify fake emails

Be careful of emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO). Use sites like and for the latest information.

Do your homework when donating

When donating to a cause, you want your donation to count. Do research before committing and never donate cash, gift cards, or wire money.

If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud, report it immediately online or call 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).

More resources

Campus operations

The university continues to monitor self-reported COVID-19 testing data on campus, while also tracking state, region, and national COVID-19 infection rates.

Seven-day rolling average chart for self-reported UI data

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since Feb. 12, 2021.

The University of Iowa has published an updated snapshot of self-reported positive COVID-19 tests from faculty, staff, and students.

Number of self-reported cases of COVID-19


  • New cases: 10
  • Total cases: 2,976


  • New cases: 1
  • Total cases: 435

These numbers reflect only self-reported positive or presumed positive COVID-19 tests from UI faculty, staff, and students on the academic campus since Aug. 18, 2020. These data will not match data reported by UI Hospitals & Clinics or by the Iowa Department of Public Health for several reasons, including different testing time intervals and geographic scope. Students who also are employees of the university are only reported in the student number to avoid double counting. The UI has more than 30,000 students and nearly 30,000 employees. Many employees continue to work remotely but have self-reported to authorize sick leave.

Number of residence hall students in quarantine: 0*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 7**

*Quarantine: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

**Self-isolation: Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are symptomatic and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected.