Editorial: Get your booster shot

Illustration by Anna Iorfino/The Daily Campus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently expanded its recommendations regarding the COVID-19 booster shot. Currently, the recommendation is that all U.S. adults should get the COVID-19 booster shot at least six months after their second shot if they initially received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and at least two months after their shot if they received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The available booster shots, produced by Pfizer and Moderna, are interchangeable, meaning that regardless of the type of initial vaccine received, either type is fine for the booster. 

COVID-19 cases are currently on the rise in the U.S., especially given the holiday season. As of Nov. 25, the U.S. was reporting 94,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. Although the majority of these cases appear to be among unvaccinated populations, many are also considered breakthrough infections, or infections among those fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine does diminish over time; however the COVID-19 booster shot greatly helps with restoring immunity

The urgency of receiving a COVID-19 booster applies to students at the University of Connecticut specifically, given the fact that all students attend classes; go to dining halls, cafés and restaurants; and attend other extracurricular activities often with little to no social distancing. These congregate settings make it imperative that students receive the booster shot as soon as they are eligible. 

Cases specifically in Connecticut are also increasing, which is concerning especially given that the state-wide mask mandate is not in place anymore, and many towns do not have indoor mask mandates. Thus, the booster shot is available and can greatly help decrease the risk of contracting breakthrough infections. 

Many pharmacies are offering the COVID-19 booster shot for those above the age of 18 who have waited the required amount of time since their primary vaccine doses. CVSWalgreens and Rite Aid are all currently offering COVID-19 booster shot appointments that can be scheduled online. UConn Storrs students may also call Student Health and Wellness at 860-486-2719 to schedule a COVID-19 booster shot, as per the email from Dean of Students Eleanor JB Daughtery from Nov. 12. 

In addition to receiving a booster shot, it is also imperative that the general public continues to take necessary precautions, such as wearing a mask indoors and practicing social distancing. Many seem to be under the impression that with the availability of vaccines, the pandemic is largely over, but with the rise in cases and the recently discovered omicron variant of COVID-19, this is clearly not true. 

UConn’s current COVID-19 guidelines are adequate in terms of masking, and therefore should be followed. Furthermore, given how necessary the booster vaccine is for maintaining immunity, the UConn administration should consider requiring that all students, staff and faculty receive the booster vaccine while providing accessible ways for all students to receive it. 

We at The Daily Campus encourage students to get their booster shot as soon as possible. As of now, it is one of the best ways to continue protecting yourself and the people around you, and necessary for us to end the COVID-19 pandemic as soon as possible. 

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