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December 8, 2022

In Case You Missed It

Closure of Vaccination and Testing Sites

UC San Diego Health drive-up and walk-thru COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites will close permanently on Dec. 16. This includes sites in La Jolla (drive-up) and the campus’s Recreation Gym (walk-thru). Campus members may receive testing and vaccination from local grocery stores or pharmacies, as well as locate services via the MyTurn website.
Campus-specific resources and recommendations:
  • All campus members: more than two dozen COVID-19 test kit vending machines will continue to stock PCR tests. Beginning later next week, the vending machines will also offer rapid antigen tests.
  • Students: those who receive a positive rapid antigen test result should contact Student Health Services (SHS) through MyStudentChart > Messages > COVID Request. Students with UC SHIP can receive a vaccine or booster at any CVS pharmacy; SHS will begin offering vaccination during winter quarter.
  • Employees: those who are symptomatic or seeking vaccination should consult with their primary care physician or locate services through the MyTurn website.

Stock Up Before Break: Rapid Antigen Tests

Students: Before you leave for break, please pick up test kits from one of several campus locations that offer free rapid antigen tests. Starting later next week, rapid antigen tests will also be available at the campus vending machines.
Employees: As you prepare to join family and friends over the holiday break, it is important to have a rapid antigen test available in case of exposure. If you become symptomatic, you will need a minimum of two tests–one to confirm COVID-19 infection and at least one to gauge whether you are negative prior to returning to work. Pick up a test at one of the campus’s vending machines (which will begin to be offered later next week) or managers can order free tests and masks for their teams through Oracle.
Please note: the expiration dates of rapid antigen tests have been extended by the FDA. You can reference the lot number that is printed on the box and the new expiration date here.

Upcoming Town Hall

Faculty and Research
Town Hall

Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m.

Graphic of individuals placing coins and hearts into a glass jar

Did the pandemic make us all a little more generous?

According to research led by Ariel Fridman, a UC San Diego doctoral student at the Rady School of Management, charitable donations increased early in the pandemic, perhaps as a way to cope. “We really didn’t know what to expect,” said Fridman, whose research focuses on pro-social behavior, generosity and altruism. “Covid was a time we felt like we didn’t have a lot of control about what was going on in our life. Donating may give people a sense of agency.” Read the story.

Your Questions Answered

Question: What is the difference between PCR and rapid antigen tests?
Answer: A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is a very sensitive molecular test that looks for genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It is the primary way to discover and verify the presence of a COVID-19 infection. UC San Diego’s EXCITE Lab processes samples daily, typically turning around results in 24 hours. These tests involve a nasal swab; self-administered test kits can be found in vending machines across campus.
Rapid antigen tests are commonly used in the diagnosis of respiratory pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 virus, influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and produce results quickly (within approximately 15–30 minutes). Antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 are generally less sensitive than real-time PCR and other nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), which detect and amplify the presence of viral nucleic acid. These tests will be available later next week at all campus vending machines in addition to PCR tests. Students can also pick up rapid antigen tests at several campus locations
Question: How can I learn about the current status of COVID-19 at UC San Diego?
Answer: The UC San Diego COVID-19 Daily Dashboard includes the number of positive cases among students (on and off campus) and employees over the past month; average test result time; cumulative cases for the current quarter; campus density statistics, San Diego County case rates and hospitalizations; and a wastewater monitoring map that details potential locations where exposures could have happened. 
Question: What is the benefit of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu?
Answer: According to Robert "Chip" Schooley, professor in UC San Diego's School of Medicine, it’s like putting money in the bank for the future. What you're doing is educating your immune system so that when it inevitably runs into the real virus, (either influenza or SARS-CoV-2) it is better prepared to deal with it. Each time your body sees the viral antigen in a vaccine or the virus in an infection, your immune system builds a little more immunity to that virus and goes through a series of maturations that allow more and more sophisticated immune responses in the weeks following. The reasons vaccines work is they are engineered to make the body think it's looking at the real thing. The body doesn't know whether it's looking at the virus or the vaccine, yet it will still make the antibodies that will attack the virus. Learn more from Dr. Schooley in a recent Q&A story.
If you have specific questions or would like to submit feedback about the Return to Learn program, please email
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