COVID-19 booster vaccines offered on campus

A vaccine drive for those eligible yields great turnout of students and staff

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced their plans to begin administering COVID-19 booster shots, Trinity sought to provide the booster shots to their community in order to increase immunity and to slow the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff. On Wednesday, Oct. 20, Trinity hosted its flu shot drive along with its first COVID-19 booster shot drive.

“The CDC states that people aged 18-49 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their work in occupational or institutional settings such as ours may receive a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their second Pfizer dose, based on their individual benefits and risks,” wrote Tess Coody-Anders, vice president for Strategic Communications and Marketing, in her announcement email about the booster drive.

According to Coody-Anders all slots for both flu and booster shots were filled by Monday.

Sophomore Alex Therwhanger said of the drive, “I think it’s good that they are offering them on campus. It makes it easy for me to get them. Even if I miss it, I know they are going to do it again.”

With only one active case of COVID-19 in the Trinity community as of Oct. 25 and a vaccination rate of over 90% among students and staff, Trinity has been successful in keeping cases low on campus and encouraging vaccinations. Despite these optimistic numbers, everyone is still urged to exercise caution amid the upcoming holiday season.

“While our numbers continue to improve and we are optimistic about our ability to live with and manage COVID on our campus, that becomes less the case if we let our guard down,” Coody-Anders said.

Jon Dougherty, a visiting assistant biology professor who specializes in molecular virology and microbiology, also encouraged students and staff to be careful while celebrating the upcoming holidays. This may include having outdoor activities if the weather permits, only visiting friends and family members whom you trust are staying safe, wearing masks if members of your family are unvaccinated and generally exercising caution in order to ensure safety for yourself and others

“If you are having family gatherings, ideally everyone would be vaccinated if they are clinically able to do so,” Dougherty said. “It’s a much safer environment because the odds of someone actually having the virus and being able to transmit it are much lower than in unvaccinated populations. It’s not zero, but it’s much lower.”

As the Trinity community looks forward to the winter holidays and the spring semester, many are curious about the possibility of lifting one of the most controversial COVID-19 restrictions on campus: the indoor mask mandate. Both Coody-Anders and Dougherty remain hopeful that, with the rollout of the COVID-19 booster shot and the low numbers of cases of COVID-19 on campus, the indoor mask mandate may be reevaluated possibly before even the end of the fall semester.

“Barring any arrival of a new variant that upends all that, I do believe that the spring semester we could see some of our ProtectTU protocols really get loosened up. Frankly, I think that even in November we will be able to take a look,” Coody-Anders said.

After 100% of the October booster shot drive slots were filled, Coody-Anders is hopeful about the planned December COVID-19 booster shot drive. For those who were ineligible in October, couldn’t get a spot or just wanted to wait a little longer, the December booster shot drive is the next big opportunity on campus to receive a booster COVID-19 vaccination.