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March 17, 2021
If you have specific questions or would like to submit feedback about the Return to Learn program, please email

In Case You Missed It

Campus Repopulation Plan

UC San Diego is beginning the next phase of the plan to incrementally repopulate the campus, with safety and equity as the top priorities. We are reimagining our workplace to promote greater work-life balance in acknowledgement of the significant impact of shifting between remote and on-site work.

Phase I Return to Campus: Faculty and Researchers

The first phase in our plan to gradually repopulate campus is focused on increasing the number of faculty and principal investigators (PIs) permitted to use their individual labs, offices and studios for academic and research work within the county’s current 25 percent occupancy cap.

Upcoming Town Halls

Staff Town Hall

Tuesday, March 23, at 11 a.m.
Join us as campus leaders share updates on the Return to Learn program and address your questions related to campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q&A video on vaccines with Dr. Marlene Millen

Your Questions Answered

Question: Why is it important to be vaccinated?
Answer: COVID-19 vaccinations are an important way to protect yourself and your family. In the short term, you can keep those who are older and who have other underlying conditions from becoming severely ill and potentially hospitalized. 

In the longer term, vaccines reduce viral replication in the community. The more people who become infected, the greater the risk of additional variants developing. And variants can weaken the strength of vaccines, resulting in a need for constant updates and refinements. It is critical to prevent the virus from spreading and replicating in the first place.
Question: Can the mRNA in vaccines alter your DNA?
Answer: No, mRNA vaccines do not change your DNA. Every cell in our body uses mRNA as a way to instruct cells on which proteins to make. While they enter cells to conduct their work, they do not enter the nucleus where DNA is stored. The vaccines that use mRNA to instruct cells to build the coronavirus spike protein help prepare your body to produce antibodies that combat coronavirus if you come in contact with it later. 
Question: Are the vaccines effective against the new variants?
Answer: Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are 95% effective against the original variants and at least 90% effective against the new variants. Again, they will prevent the development of severe disease and hospitalization, even with new variants. The newly approved vaccines are slightly less effective with the variants, but still protect against severe disease and death. 

For more information on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, please see a Q&A with Dr. Robert “Chip” Schooley here.  

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