Booster shots for COVID-19 unlikely to be offered on campus

While+not+available+on+campus%2C+students+can+get+a+booster+shot+at+locations+in+Easton%2C+including+CVS.+%28Photo+by+Caroline+Burns+22%29

Photo by Caroline Burns

While not available on campus, students can get a booster shot at locations in Easton, including CVS. (Photo by Caroline Burns ’22)

Baris Yazici, Contributing Writer

While Lafayette’s Bailey Health Center was able to offer the first series of COVID-19 vaccines on campus during last spring semester because of a partnership with St. Luke’s Hospital Network, such a partnership looks unlikely to repeat in the near future. There is no current plan on offering booster shots on campus.

Vice President for Campus Life Annette Diorio explained that the College cannot offer booster vaccines mostly because of state guidelines that dictate where vaccines can be distributed.

“We are not a designated covid vaccine site through the state and so can’t order booster doses,” Diorio explained.

Even if the doses are not offered on-site, there are some alternatives from which students can choose, including vaccine sites around the Easton area.

“Local pharmacies are well situated to offer boosters and are accessible for students using the LANTA bus,” Diorio said. “Students can ride the LANTA bus at no cost by using their current student IDs.” 

Although it looks unlikely for now, the Bailey Health Center “remains open to the possibility of offering boosters on campus in the future,” Director of Health Services Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein said. 

On Oct. 21, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new guidelines on COVID-19 booster shots. College students over the age of 18 are now eligible for booster shots six months after their second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, and two months after their Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen shot.

In the past few months, Lafayette tried to make the process of vaccination as easy as possible for students. Goldstein noted that the health center became open for vaccination for international students at the beginning of the semester. 

“International students who did not have access to the vaccine over the summer were vaccinated at the health center in August/September through a partnership with NeighborRx [pharmacy],” Goldstein said. 

If there emerges a possibility of offering booster shots, they are likely to reevaluate the situation to ease the process of getting vaccinated. 

In terms of updates to the requirement of full vaccination for students and faculty, Diorio said that individuals who received their first series of doses are still considered fully vaccinated. There is currently no restriction or status change for those that don’t receive a booster shot.

“[Because the] requirements have not yet changed for individuals to be considered fully vaccinated, we have not attempted to collect any data on how many individuals have gotten booster shots,” Diorio said. 

Even though the college isn’t tracking students who have received booster shots at this time, Goldstein noted that Lafayette is closely monitoring CDC guidelines.

“If the CDC redefines being ‘fully vaccinated’, Lafayette will likely require documentation of booster shots,” Goldstein said.