COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Understanding testing options for school districts and benefits of saliva testing – September 2021

Link 1:  This first link comes from the weekly Covid update email:

At the bottom of the page, the following paragraph is included to highlight testing:

“Vaccine and Testing Details”

“Workers are considered “fully vaccinated” for COVID-19 two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine. Vaccines must be currently authorized for emergency use or approved by the FDA or the WHO.

Both antigen and molecular tests are acceptable for weekly testing.”

Link 2:  This link is a two-page document with information about “testing basics” Coronavirus Disease 2019 Testing Basics (

It’s important to distinguish between a test that uses a nasal swab and one that uses saliva.  Please refer to page two which includes the following chart regarding the benefits of using a saliva test.


Link 3:  A research report from a scientific journal associated with the National Institutes of Health: Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 detection in nasopharyngeal swab and saliva (

The journal entry starts with the following paragraph:

“ In this journal, Azzi et al. reported that saliva was a reliable tool to detect SARS-CoV-2.1 We prospectively compared the efficacy of PCR detection of SARS-CoV-2 between paired nasopharyngeal and saliva samples in 76 patients including ten coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.  The overall concordance rate of the virus detection between the two samples reached as high as 97.4% (Table 1 ); we confirmed that saliva is a noninvasive and reliable alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs and facilitates widespread PCR testing in the face of shortages of swabs and protective equipment without posing a risk to healthcare workers.”

Link 4:  An article from Yale News titled: “Saliva samples preferable to deep nasal swabs for testing Covid-19”.   

Saliva samples preferable to deep nasal swabs for testing COVID-19 | YaleNews

Paragraph two is below:

“The study led by the Yale School of Public Health — and conducted at Yale New Haven Hospital with 44 inpatients and 98 health care workers — found that saliva samples taken from just inside the mouth provided greater detection sensitivity and consistency throughout the course of an infection than the broadly recommended nasopharyngeal (NP) approach. The study also concluded that there was less variability in results with the self-sample collection of saliva.”

Link 5:  A research report published in The Lancet.  The key to understanding the benefits of the use of saliva testing for pooled and individual samples is discussed in both the “Findings” section and the “Interpretations” section.

Implementation of a pooled surveillance testing program for asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections in K-12 schools and universities – EClinicalMedicine (


“From August 27, 2020 until January 13, 2021, 253,406 saliva specimens were self-collected from students, faculty and staff from 93 K-12 schools and 18 universities. Pool sizes of up to 24 samples were tested over a 20-week period. Pooled testing did not significantly alter the sensitivity of the molecular assay in terms of both qualitative (100% detection rate on both pooled and individual samples) and quantitative (comparable cycle threshold (Ct) values between pooled and individual samples) measures. The detection of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva was comparable to the nasopharyngeal swab. Pooling samples substantially reduced the costs associated with PCR testing and allowed schools to rapidly assess transmission and adjust prevention protocols as necessary. In one instance, in-school transmission of the virus was determined within the main office and led to review and revision of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems.”


“By establishing low-cost, weekly testing of students and faculty, pooled saliva analysis for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 enabled schools to determine whether transmission had occurred, make data-driven decisions, and adjust safety protocols. We provide strong evidence that pooled testing may be a fundamental component to the reopening of schools by minimizing the risk of in-school transmission among students and faculty.

I know the state has mandated testing for those who chose not to get the vaccine for personal, medical, or religious reasons.  But I wonder if an additional mitigation strategy might be to test all educators to stay ahead of potential outbreaks.

Link 6:  A journal entry dated June 2021 published in Science News titled “Saliva can be more effective than nasopharyngeal swabs for Covid-19 testing, researchers find”

Saliva can be more effective than nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing, researchers find — ScienceDaily

A few key takeaways include the conclusion that nasopharyngeal swabs pose challenges including exposure risk to healthcare workers and supply change constraints.  Additionally, saliva samples are easier to collect with less risk to the health care provider.

The authors called the saliva test a “game changer” for Covid-19 testing because it allows for increased compliance from the population being tested in addition to decrease exposure risk to health care workers during the collection process.   

Link 7:  Journal entry in the National Library of Medicine titled “Saliva is a reliable tool to detect SARS-CoV-2.

Saliva is a reliable tool to detect SARS-CoV-2 – PubMed (

Link 8:  Rutgers University has been successfully utilizing a home-based saliva test to screen certain students and employees for Covid-19 since May of  2020.

COVID-19 Testing – Universitywide COVID-19 Information (

The Rutgers testing program utilizes the Saliva PCR test to identify virus particles. Saliva is deposited into a test tube, similar to giving a specimen for the well-known commercial genetic testing companies. As compared with the nasopharyngeal swab method, this testing method reduces risk of transmission, reduces use of personal protective equipment, and can be done at home.

An example of what Hunterdon County is doing – testing available to all residents for free. . 

Passaic County – free testing for residents 

Concerning free testing- Another link from the NJ Covid-19 Information Hub:

This past summer, it became clear that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can spread the Covid-19 virus to others.  How beneficial would it be if districts established a grant-funded testing system to help get ahead of any potential variant outbreaks?

Since most educators are vaccinated, testing only unvaccinated employees, unfortunately, misses the majority of potential virus transmitters.   A testing system that includes in some capacity all educators and potentially students can help address and reduce the concerns.

Link 9:  From “Rutgers Today” an article about how the salvia test developed at Rutgers was given FDA approval back in April 2020.

New Rutgers Saliva Test for Coronavirus Gets FDA Approval | Rutgers University

Again, a key component of the report is the simplicity of the saliva test and the benefit of less risk to the health care worker.

In the last year, there has been a lot more research that confirms the benefit of using a saliva test compared to a nasal swab.  The saliva test has four main advantages.

  1. Easier to administer with less risk to the health care worker
  2. Less intrusive to the patient
  3. Lower cost
  4. Can easily be added to a district’s testing protocol   

Additional links-

Letter from state to all districts:

NJDOH outline of screening testing overview:

Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity (ELC) via the CDC document for reopening and testing.



Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 253 for school employees

  • Requires Covid vaccination by Oct. 18th OR weekly Covid testing
  • The Covid test may be an antigen test or a molecular test (PCR, NAAT)


Federal Grants are available to School Districts to implement testing programs

  • Schools must complete a survey by SEPTEMBER 13th to indicate interest or opt-out of the program. Schools must also indicate which of 2 options they prefer.
  • Option 1:  A “turnkey” program where a state-contracted vendor will provide full testing services onsite at the schools.
  • Option 2:  Provides schools with funding to support testing programs that are already in place and align with the NJDOH.

Additional Funding Opportunity from HHS

  • $50 million dollars for free COVID testing at k-12 schools across the country.
  • A company called Affinity Empowering will set up a testing program at no cost to the school district.
  • Several New Jersey schools are using this company.


  • Schools have a legal and ethical duty to create a safe environment for all.
  • Masks, vaccination, staying home when symptomatic and contact tracing are the primary methods being utilized to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in schools.
  • A well-designed testing program can catch Covid infections early to reduce transmission of the virus in the school setting.
  • Vaccination does not prevent infection in all people. Vaccination does not prevent transmission.  Children under the age of 12 are not eligible for Covid vaccination. Some people are unable to be vaccinated due to medical and religious reasons.
  • A testing program has to include all unvaccinated adults per EO 253 but should also include vaccinated adults or a random sampling of them, to be effective as a tool for reduced transmission in a school setting.
  • Testing should not be punitive or completed at personal cost to employees.
  • School staff should not have to use personal or sick days when quarantined.
  • Schools must plan ahead by setting up a fully-funded testing program ready to expand to meet future needs should Covid cases increase as new variants arrive.


  • Nasal or nasopharyngeal (deep) swabs are invasive and often uncomfortable. A nasopharyngeal swab sample must be collected by a healthcare worker.
  • Saliva sampling is non-invasive and acceptable to most, including children.
  • Saliva samples and some nasal swab samples can be done independently/at home.
  • Many studies show saliva sampling is preferred for accuracy and ease. (Rutgers University uses saliva testing and developed the test)

April 2021

As the world continues to be gripped by COVID-19 and COVID vaccination, wading through the ever-changing information can be cumbersome and confusing. Below are some links and information that can help you as you strive to make informed decisions for yourself and your family.

– Previous infection with Covid-19 can INCREASE side effects and reactions to the covid-19 vaccine.

– The Covid-19 vaccines may NOT prevent infection or transmission of covid-19, they may reduce symptoms if exposed and infected with covid-19.

– Vaccination with Covid-19 could cause increased hyper response if exposed to strains of covid-19.

– The Pfizer and Moderna “vaccines” are mRNA vaccines – the first of its kind.

– Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is not full, licensed approval for a vaccine.

Stanford begins testing Pfizer Covid Vaccines on 6 month-12 years of age.
This CDC chart clearly shows that 65+ is at highest risk for negative outcome. This age group is also at high risk for shingles and pneumonia (as we age our immune systems naturally decline), hence why vaccinations are available for this age group only. We don’t vaccinate children for shingles or pneumonia because it does not affect them.

January – April 2021 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE COVID VACCINE – Everly Report
This article will go over the details provided by the vaccine manufacturers (specifically based on the vaccine package insert, published phase 3 clinical trial, and FDA Briefing document.) We will cover ingredients, effectiveness and how it was evaluated, and safety, including reports of adverse events since administration of the vaccine began in December.

“…five reasons why schools can and should open at 100% capacity before a vaccine for those under 16 is available.” Including, for kids, risk of missing school dwarfs the risk of Covid-19, and the vaccines’ harm-benefit profile may be suboptimal in kids.

“Prevention of infection is not a criterion for success for any of these vaccines…..Three of the vaccine protocols—Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca—do not require that their vaccine prevent serious disease only that they prevent moderate symptoms which may be as mild as cough, or headache…..It appears that all the pharmaceutical companies assume that the vaccine will never prevent infection….”

Available COVID-19 Vaccines: The FDA has provided emergency use authorization of 3 separate COVID-19 vaccines to date. You can find the latest information about authorization vs. approval at the following address:

Additional resources:
Report any adverse event to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) VAERS Search help

November 2020 – International Journal of Infectious Disease. The potential for antibody-dependent enhancement for Coronavirus.