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University Mandates COVID-19 Booster Shots for Spring Semester, Globe Reports

Boston College will require students, faculty, and staff on campus for the spring semester to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, according to The Boston Globe

At least two other Massachusetts colleges will also require students to receive a booster shot, including UMass Amherst and Emerson College.

“[BC] will require a COVID-19 booster shot for all students, faculty, and staff, we are working on the logistics now, given the six-month waiting period for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines,” Associate Vice President for University Communications Jack Dunn said in the article. 

According to the BC Forward website, BC has a community vaccination rate of 99.3 percent

“We required vaccinations for those coming to campus this semester and achieved a vaccination rate of 99.3%, which was very helpful in limiting cases of COVID on campus this fall,” a BC spokesperson said in a Boston Herald article about the recent booster mandates. 

Boston University has not yet mandated COVID-19 booster shots, Harvard University is not requiring them but is strongly encouraging them, and Northeastern University is still deciding if it will mandate booster shots, according to The Globe article.

News of a booster shot mandate comes during a recent spike in COVID-19 cases on campus, with 54 new undergraduate cases in BC’s most recent update to the BC Forward website. 

The University also implemented heightened penalties for testing noncompliance in a Nov. 30 email from Vice President for Student Affairs Shawna Cooper-Gibson. 

On Wednesday, Off-Campus Student Living sent an email to off-campus students regarding move-in procedures for the return from Winter Break. Off-campus students will be required to move in early for COVID-19 testing. 

“Off-campus students must undergo initial COVID-19 testing on campus between January 10-14th,” the email reads. “Plan your travel accordingly. Testing times and locations are forthcoming from UHS.”

On Oct. 29, Director of University Health Services Doug Comeau announced BC would hold four vaccination clinics for eligible students, faculty, and staff. In a later email, he announced two more clinics, one in late November and another in early December.

To be eligible for a booster shot, Comeau’s email said that students must have received their Pfizer or Moderna shot more than six months ago, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago.

Pfizer said that receiving its COVID-19 booster shot might protect against the new Omicron variant, while the original two doses seem to be significantly less effective against the variant, according to The Globe article.

Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff

December 8, 2021