Updated COVID-19 Recommendations for Vaccinations and Boosters
As our semesters and trimesters come to a close and we all depart for a much-needed holiday break, I want to provide some reminders and recommendations regarding COVID-19. Our collective diligence in adhering to our CU Staying Healthy protocols has kept our infection numbers very low for the past several months. When you return after the holidays to begin a new term, or return for the start of the Spring semester in late January, we ask that you stay current on the protocols in place.
Though much is still unknown about the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has noted that it will likely spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but current vaccines are anticipated to provide protection against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths just as with known variants thus far. We will continue to consult with infectious disease expert Dan Kelly, Chapman’s consulting epidemiologist from the University of California San Francisco, and our own Chapman School of Pharmacy Professor & Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice Jeff Goad, as they monitor new data on the effectiveness of COVID-19 boosters against both Delta and Omicron variants and consult on the current protocols recommended to combat the spread of COVID-19.
First, if you have not yet received any COVID-19 vaccination, I would encourage you to not delay and start it now as it will offer protection even against the new Omicron variant. Secondly, for those who have been vaccinated, I want to strongly recommend that all those who qualify get a booster as soon as soon as you are able. In line with the most current CDC recommendations, everyone age 16 years and older is encouraged to get a booster before the winter break to minimize the risk of COVID-19. (Note: we are currently upgrading our university vaccine-tracking system and will communicate when you will have the ability to report your booster shot to Chapman for our private records).
For those who will qualify in the coming weeks, Chapman is working to schedule a COVID-19 booster shot clinic in early February. We will share additional details as that comes together. If you already qualify, we recommend you do not wait and you get a booster at a location convenient for you. Just like the primary vaccine series, the boosters are free to everyone whether you go to a pharmacy or to a medical clinic.
If you have children, all kids 5 years and up should now be getting their COVID-19 primary vaccination and 16- and 17-year-olds, if it’s been at least 6 months, should now get their boosters.
Based on current guidance from the CDC, state and local agencies, and our consulting infectious disease experts, Chapman will maintain the enhanced COVID-19 protocols as communicated on Nov. 18, and we will continue to follow the indoor face covering policy, which has now been mandated statewide by the California Department of Public Health effective Dec. 15 regardless of vaccination status.
Thank you for your continued diligence, and I wish our entire Chapman Family a joyous, relaxing and healthy holiday season with their loved ones.