During a five session event, Tigers Protect The Den: A Series of Campus Forums to Support COVID-19 Safety and Precautions, Dr. Macy Young brought students and faculty together under the Gazebo, to continue the discussion of Covid-19 and how students and faculty can fight against it. On Tuesday, September 14, 2021 the session's topic was: "Viruses and Vaccines: How do they work?" The event started at 11:00am EST.

Dr. Macy Young wanted to do more to show support of enhancing the safety measures on campus. Faculty have organized events such as this to put pressure on the Board of Regions to change their policies to keep the faculty, students, and everyone else safer. The issue for faculty, staff, and students is that Savannah State University has removed its mask mandate from last year.

Covid-19 has become much more of a problem with the Delta Variant being two times more contagious as the original variation of Covid-19. The session explained what a virus and vaccine is.

Being a concern for parents, “The Covid-19 rates in children have gone up 240 percent just since this past July”, said Dr. Young.

Children are now 29 percent of all reported cases in the United States. This has become an issue because adults are refusing to get vaccinated.

The first speaker was the department chair of Biology, Dr. Theresa Shakespeare, gave an educational outlook about viruses. Dr. Shakespeare informed us about what viruses are, what they do, and how they behave. As humans, we need several things to survive. A virus is a non-living thing that requires a host to survive.

For Corona-virus, the hosts are humans. Without humans, the virus would not be able to survive. In order for the virus to enter the human body, it needs a particular protein called the Spike protein. The Spike protein will then allow the virus to have the ability to engage with the human cell. Once the human cell is infected, the virus is then able to replicate itself and infect more cells in the human body.

It then becomes a repeating cycle. When a human takes the vaccine, a message is sent to the cells, telling them to arm themselves from harm. The immune system searches around for things that aren’t supposed to be present, and when it notices the virus, an antibody is then made.

The antibody is the end result of the immune system getting prepared to fight. By way of injection of the vaccine is the artificial process, and it is then stored. When someone has side effects from the vaccine, it is the immune system responding by helping your body respond to future harm from the virus.

The second speaker is the coordinator for the CARES office, Rhonda Houston. Houston spoke about the services that the CARES office provides to students and the Savannah community, including free vaccinations and testing. She has ensured that the vaccines are indeed safe to take. The vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are available on campus for student and faculty. Vaccine clinics are held on Tuesdays from 12pm-4pm and Fridays from 10pm-2pm. Students and faculty are encouraged to get the vaccine.

There have been many clinical trials and research to ensure the vaccines are safe. To successfully pull off a clinical trial, it takes about 3,000 people to participate in a volunteer clinical trial. It also takes about a year to get authorization to use the vaccine. The two vaccines combined involved clinical trials that included over 30,000 people each all across North America.

Agencies have worked together so that vaccines could be released very quickly. Testing and data review took approximately 4 months, and then the vaccine was made available in less than a month. While the FDA continue research studies, there are no long term side effects of the vaccine.

The Vice-chair of the Faculty Senate, Dr. Andrea Moore, gave encouraging words and made sure everyone was reminded of this important information. The next event would take place the Wednesday, September 15, 2021, with the topic of "Planning and Mitigation".

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