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Prof. Paul Overvoorde and Dr. Steph Walters: Spring 2022 COVID-19 Booster Requirement and Vaccine Booster Clinics

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty:

In order to sustain our goal of minimizing infections and curtailing transmission on campus, senior staff has decided that all students, faculty, and staff are required to provide evidence of a COVID-19 vaccine series and booster dose by February 1, 2022. There are two exceptions to providing documentation:

  1. You are currently in the waiting period for when a booster can be provided. Booster doses are recommended for those who are six months past their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two months past their single Johnson & Johnson dose. Or,
  2. You have an existing COVID-19 vaccine exemption in place.

You are required to submit documentation of your prior vaccination series and booster dose (i.e. a photo or scan of your vaccination card) using this COVID-19 Booster Vaccination Reporting Form.

The College is requiring this information in anticipation of meeting institutional reporting needs, as well as to inform planning for the spring semester. We are announcing this expectation now in order to allow individuals time to secure a free booster shot in the coming weeks. We urge you to get your booster dose as soon as possible. The on-campus booster clinics previously announced for December 14 (sign-up link here) and December 21 (sign-up link here) still have a few slots available. While we intend to offer additional booster clinics in January, finalizing dates will depend on vaccine and staffing availability. You can direct questions to healthresponse@macalester.edu.

We, along with senior staff, continue to discuss COVID-aware strategies that will facilitate our being together in person for the spring semester and will communicate additional plans no later than January 7, 2022.

High rates of vaccination has been one of the foundational public health layers to our in-person fall semester. Such a solid foundation aided in avoiding large-scale outbreaks by limiting cases to small groups of close contacts. Our community has also effectively complemented vaccination by maintaining other public health practices: masking, observing physical distance, avoiding large crowds, and staying home when not feeling well followed by getting tested. We are grateful to report that as of today we have no students in isolation.

Recent data show that vaccine-mediated protection from infection wanes over time, leading to more breakthrough cases. Vaccines remain, however, very effective at reducing hospitalizations and death and reports released during the past week show that a booster dose reduces the likelihood of infection by the omicron variant. In fact, both the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have communicated that anyone 18 or older should receive a COVID-19 booster.

In closing, a word of appreciation for those that have already rolled up their sleeves to get a booster dose. Thank you! And, again a heartfelt word of appreciation for how hard each of you has worked to keep each other safer during the fall term. The pull towards complacency is real and we have been inspired over and over by the resilience that our campus community has shown. We look forward to engaging with you after a break that we hope brings rest, rejuvenation, and reconnecting with loved ones.

Be well!

Paul Overvoorde, PhD, Director of COVID Operations
Steph Walters, MD, MPH, Interim Director of the Hamre Center

Published: Dec. 9, 2021