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COVID-19 testing updates: flu shots and booster shots

The university announced the opening of its fall Flu Shot Clinic, as well as the beginning of its COVID-19 booster shot roll out for eligible community members, according to an update sent in a recent email by Morgan Bergman, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives, on Sep. 15. 


According to the email, the Flu Shot Clinic will be held on Oct. 4, 5 and 6 in the Hassenfeld Conference Center on campus and is open to everyone in the Waltham community this year. Students can sign up for an appointment any day through the Flu Shot 2021 Website or by calling the Brandeis Health Center at (781)-736-3677, Bergman wrote.

The university’s Flu Shot Clinic webpage states that anyone who schedules an appointment to receive a flu shot must bring an insurance card in order to “determine eligibility to receive a flu shot at no charge.” Flu vaccines are covered at no charge by most insurance plans, according to the page. Uninsured participants can get a discount on their flu shots but are charged a sticker price of $47 for a regular dose and $80 for a high dose. 


Brandeis community members must have a green or yellow Campus Passport to display upon arrival for their shot and visitors must have completed their Visitor Daily Health Assessment on the day of their appointment per the university’s COVID-19 Policy. All participants must wear a mask.


The website states that this year, the clinic will also offer free COVID-19 booster shots for immunocompromised community members who have waited 28 days after their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (if they received a second dose). Booster shots and flu shots can be administered in the same appointment, though; it is not necessary to schedule an appointment for a booster shot in advance. The website advises speaking with an available pharmacist upon arrival to receive a booster shot. Eligibility for booster shots, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may expand to the general public in time, according to the website.


Currently, third doses for COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed to individuals who are immunocompromised, according to the university’s page. The university will distribute third doses to the general public once the CDC mandates it. The CDC recommends a third dose for individuals who got Moderna and Pfizer eight months after receiving their second shot, according to their COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot page. There is currently not enough data for whether individuals who received the Johnson and Johnson shot should receive a booster, though current research is being done to see if it would be effective, according to the page


Similar to how vaccine rollout was, the first eligible individuals will be those 65 years and older and those most at risk including healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, according to the CDC


Bergman’s email also included reminders that community members must bring their ID cards to COVID-19 testing centers when submitting a sample and that the Brandeis Shuttle is now available to transport students to the Mandel Humanities Center and Shapiro Science Center (SSC) testing sites. The testing site at Mandel is open  9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Friday. The testing site at the Shapiro Science Center is open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday through Friday.

The university will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 policies according to evolving CDC and FDA guidelines, according to the webpage.

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