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Univ. to require COVID-19 vaccine booster by Jan. 25

All members of the Brandeis community will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster by Jan. 25 or as soon as they become eligible, according to an email sent by Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Raymond Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs. It was announced in December that all community members would have to receive a booster by Feb. 15. Those that currently have exemptions will be exempt from the booster requirement as well. 

The university’s booster requirement for community members comes “in response to the continuing spread of COVID-19, the rise of new variants and the availability of booster vaccinations for [Brandeis’] entire community,” according to the email.

Individuals are eligible for their booster shot if they received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shot at least six months ago or if they received their doses of Johnson and Johnson at least two months ago, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot page. Those that are currently not eligible to receive their booster will have 30 days to provide documentation to the university, according to the email.

Individuals who did not receive an FDA approved vaccine will receive communication in the coming weeks. 

For booster shots, individuals do not have to receive the same brand they got for their initial shot, according to the CDC’s page. The email also reminded Brandeis community members that they do not have to get the same vaccine as their first one(s). Additional information regarding booster shots can be found on the CDC’s website

Individuals who received vaccines that are not Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO) approved are still required to receive a booster shot six months after their shot, according to the email. The university recommends for these community members to check in with their primary health provider for guidance on which booster shot to receive. 

For community members who have already applied and received approval for their exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination, they will also automatically be exempt from the booster requirement. According to the email, community members exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination do not need to reapply for exemption. 

The university is also currently working on organizing more booster clinics on campus; however, community members were encouraged to get their booster shot over the winter break. Boosters are available at hospitals and pharmacies, according to the email; individuals can also receive their boosters at local pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS.

 “Scientific evidence has shown that immunity to COVID-19 wanes over time. Early data suggest that the Omicron variant is more transmissible than Delta, but that booster shots have been shown to restore and strengthen immunity. Adding a booster to the original dose will help to slow the spread of COVID in the spring semester,” wrote Fierke, Uretsky and Ou in the email.

Additional booster clinics are currently being scheduled for January in order to assure that all members of the community are able to meet the Jan. 25 deadline, according to an email sent by Ron Liebowitz, President, Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs on Jan. 7. Additional announcements will be made on the COVID-19 Response website.

The university’s Campus Passport Portal at the time of publication does not have a place to upload booster documentation. Information on how to upload booster documentation will be provided within the coming weeks, according to the email. The vaccination page of the COVID-19 Response Website has additional information available for community members on the university’s COVID-19 related policies.

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