The weather is changing, and it’s finally starting to feel like fall. With the colder months comes an increased prevalence of colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a fact most University of Connecticut students are far too familiar with. Thus, it is especially important this semester for the UConn student body to take the necessary precautions in preventing illness, including getting their bivalent COVID-19 booster and annual flu shot.
As of Aug. 31, 2022 the FDA has approved bivalent formulations of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older, and of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 12 years of age and older. According to the FDA website, a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine “includes a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against COVID-19 and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.”
Preventing illness should be a shared goal of the UConn community and vaccines are one way to do this. Especially regarding COVID-19 – The Editorial Board has previously discussed the university’s lacking protocols and precautions – getting an additional vaccine this fall will contribute to the collective effort of maintaining health on campus. With no masking or physical distancing precautions in place, a bivalent booster is necessary this winter to protect one’s own health and the health of those around them. It’s incredibly easy to use the VaccineFinder website to set a vaccine appointment near you, and appointments take less than half an hour in the first place.
And of course, it is important to remember there are still illnesses other than COVID-19 – flu season is here and remains a threat to the overall health of the UConn community. However, it is easier than ever for students at the Storrs campus to get their flu shot and help prevent serious illness. Student Health and Wellness is providing free flu vaccinations in the Rome Commons Community Room on select days throughout the fall semester. Appointments are encouraged but not required, and students only need to bring their UConn student I.D. with them. The Editorial Board encourages students to show support for beneficial Student Health and Wellness programs such as this one while also protecting themselves and their surrounding community from severe illness.
A bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine and a flu shot are two of the simplest and most effective ways UConn students can protect themselves and the greater community from illness this winter. Preventative measures make campus a safer environment for all, so do your part, and get your shots!