Monday, March 22, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine update: Frequently asked questions

What are the common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Early indications are that mild to moderate flu-like side effects might occur, such as arm pain, headache, fatigue, fever, or chills, lasting up to 48 hours. This is your body creating a response to the vaccine and is normal.

Do you gain some immunity to the virus after the first vaccination, or only after the second vaccination?

We believe you gain some immunity after the first dose. More immunity is achieved about seven days after the second dose, according to clinical studies.

For campus vaccination information and updates, see To learn more about vaccines and vaccine safety, see the University of Iowa Health Care COVID-19 Vaccine Information page.

More information about the state of Iowa’s vaccine administration is available here.

Higher education funding from the American Rescue Plan

The nearly $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan provides another round of supplemental relief funding for institutions of higher education to address the needs of:

  • Students and the institution;
  • Funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology and National Science Foundation to help with the setbacks in the science and technology enterprise;
  • Equal access for public universities to tax relief provided through previous COVID-19 relief bills; and
  • Funding for vaccines, testing, and tracing.

Similar to the CARES Act and CRSSAA, which passed at the end of 2020, the American Rescue Plan adds an additional $39.58 billion to higher education through the (HEERF) formula.

The University of Iowa is expected to receive $44,120,495.50 to split evenly between the institution and emergency relief grants to students.

These funds will be available for use through Sept. 30, 2023.

The university will share more information when it is available.

Spring 2021 commencement update

In this video, John Keller, associate provost for graduate and professional education and dean of the Graduate College, shares what graduate students and their families can expect to see during the spring 2021 virtual commencement ceremonies and graduation celebration at Kinnick Stadium. Be sure to RSVP for the virtual ceremony by 11:59 p.m. on April 22 in order to be recognized.

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.

University of Iowa seven-day rolling average

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since March 19, 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: 4
  • Total cases: 3,046


  • New cases: 1
  • Total cases: 454

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: 2**

*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.