With the widespread emergence of the COVID-19 vaccine booster, and third dose for many, students are left wondering if it will be required of them. Students, faculty and staff at VWU were greeted by an email with the vaccine requirement in the Nota Bene on the morning of April 27. Among the many emotions to this, students expressed anger, confusion, joy and relief.
Fastforwarding to now, students have again been surprised with a different type of email in their inboxes. This email is a strong suggestion to receive a booster dose. The COVID-19 vaccine booster is here and available to virtually everyone who received a one or two dose vaccine series.
At first, it was going to be restricted for those 65 and older and frontline personnel. However, with the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the booster can now be offered to anyone that has completed their previous vaccine series. The only stipulation is the last dose must have been received at least six months ago for a two dose series or two months ago for the one dose sequence.
It is now on everyone’s minds as to if this booster will be required. Public health experts would strongly say yes. April Christman, director of Student Health, had this to say about the COVID-19 vaccine boosters, “The University continues its COVID-19 mitigation efforts to ensure the safest normal possible for our Marlin community and vaccinations have proved vital to supporting this goal. We are closely monitoring information regarding COVID-19 booster shot eligibility and accessibility since the CDC
endorsed expansion of eligibility to individuals who have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine six or more months ago and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two or more months ago and who are also age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings, such as a university campus.”
Christman also said that those in the campus community should submit their COVID-19 booster paperwork. Students should send proof of booster shots to firstname.lastname@example.org and faculty and staff should send proof of booster shots to email@example.com. To summarize, it is not entirely clear yet on what VWU will decide. The university strongly encourages all members to receive the booster as soon as they are able to do so. It is important to note VWU was among the first universities in the state and country to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all members of the university
It will be interesting to see if the university chooses to be a trailblazer once again by requiring the booster. Many educational institutions have chosen to remain quiet regarding this, even as most, if not all, of their students
become rapidly eligible for the booster. Without hesitation, the COVID-19 booster should be required for all members of the university community. The goal of almost everyone is to return to life being as normal as possible. The only way to effectively and realistically do this is to maintain vaccine efficacy levels.
Generalized studies have shown that once an individual receives their respective COVID-19 booster, their immunity to the virus returns to the highest levels, which is just after completing their selected vaccine sequence. Science and statistics do not lie. For those who received the Pfizer vaccine, this means their immunity to COVID-19 can return to approximately 96% by receiving the booster.
Receiving another shot seems like a small price to “pay” for being almost entirely immune to the virus. It also brings with it an invaluable asset – peace of mind. This is a qualitative feeling that no amount of money could ever surpass.
By individuals receiving the booster, they are also helping to advance society as a whole. With every individual taking a small step towards eradicating
COVID-19, the nation can take a giant leap forward. It is time to unite as one, as the nation shares a common goal. With the widespread rollout of boosters, there is a brighter light shining at the end of the seemingly never ending tunnel that is COVID-19.
A key group to accomplish this goal in the coming months is the five to eleven year old age group. This group will be crucial to seeing public schools reminiscent of the learning sanctuaries they once were. Young children are
the key to making even greater strides in eliminating the virus once and for all. After all, this is how the United States is credited with eradicating polio. The key to the country’s success was the vaccination of children.
Virginia Wesleyan is following COVID-19 guidelines as written by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). For more information on regulations and updates, visit https://www.vwu.edu/coronavirus/.
BY JACK PALMER
Image Courtesy of Kathleen Vanden Berg | Marlin Chronicle