Pfizer booster shots are now available to residential college students

Samuel Weinmann, Politics Editor

According to a report from an FDA official on Oct. 5, individuals 18 years and older could soon be eligible for COVID-19 booster shots.

While booster shots aren’t available for the general population, they’re starting to become available for certain college students. On Oct. 8, the CDC changed its guidance on booster shots, allowing students who live in university housing to receive an additional shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Although the Pfizer vaccine is the only official vaccine authorized by the FDA for booster shots, that may soon change.

Bloomberg News reported on Sept. 28 that the FDA was “leaning toward” the authorization of Moderna booster shots; this authorization could mean that millions more vaccinated individuals would be eligible for extra protection.

Moderna isn’t the only vaccine being considered for booster shots. On Oct. 5, Johnson & Johnson asked the FDA to authorize an additional dose of its COVID-19 vaccine. According to AP News, U.S. officials don’t recommend getting a booster vaccine from a different provider from the one that administered the initial dose. This means that having booster shots for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson would eliminate any confusion about booster shots and would increase their accessibility.

Because of the increased transmission of the Delta variant and breakthrough infections for vaccinated individuals, university COVID-19 policies are still fairly stringent compared to before the pandemic. Additionally, pre-pandemic activities such as indoor dining and group gatherings are still a COVID-19 risk.

COVID-19 policies at the university still require students to wear a mask in all campus buildings, and for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students to wear a mask and socially distance themselves outdoors. Students must also report symptoms daily in the university’s COVID-19 compliance app, CoVerified.

According to an email sent to members of the university community from the COVID-19 Task Force on Sept. 29, vaccine providers in Connecticut may begin providing booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine. The email also instructed members of the university community to not submit records of their Pfizer booster shots to CoVerified until further notice.

Whether or not these booster shots would significantly alter COVID-19 policies remains unclear, especially as the Delta variant continues to spread throughout the U.S.; however, they could add another layer of protection against the Delta variant.