COVID Vaccination and Booster Expectation

Evidence has accumulated that convincingly indicates that the new Omicron variant has changed the evidence for use of boosters for a wide range of ages.

 This evidence tells us:

  • While full vaccination significantly reduces the chances of serious illness, it has much more limited effectiveness at preventing the spread of the disease.
  • Boosters dramatically increase immunity and prevent infection, in addition to increasing the resistance to serious disease upon infection.

Eligibility for booster shots comes five months after the administration of the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (e.g. Pfizer or Moderna), or two months after the administration of a single dose vaccine (e.g. J&J Jansen). Those who have recently been infected with COVID should wait until they are fully recovered (typically 10 days, with no fever for at least 24 hours). Some physicians recommend waiting longer after that time, but the CDC does not provide any such recommendation. If a COVID patient was treated with passive antibody products (monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma), they should wait 90 days after that therapy before boosters. Additionally, there may be other considerations for exemption, either for medical or religious reasons, so the exemption process, as always, remains open for individuals for whom their current circumstances warrant that. Medical exemptions require a health care professional’s recommendation.

Currently, those who completed a two-shot vaccination sequence by August 13, 2021, are presently eligible for a booster. Those who received the J&J vaccine by November 13, 2021, are currently eligible for a booster. We will have a booster clinic on campus on January 27, 2022; the relevant final vaccination dates conferring eligibility for that clinic are August 27, 2021, and November 27, 2021, for two-dose and single-dose vaccinations, respectively. All students who are eligible for booster doses by the date of the clinic are expected to have complied in advance or at that clinic unless they have existing exemptions or have applied for an exemption by that date. Other students are expected to comply with a booster shot or exemption within two weeks following their eligibility date. Wellness can help identify locations to obtain a booster at no cost. We will ask for updated information on vaccination and booster status to be completed by February 1; this will come through a Qualtrics survey—do not attempt to send information by email. Students who are eligible but have not received their booster by that time will be considered “not up-to-date” by CDC definitions, and therefore subject to more stringent quarantine guidelines.