Contingency Planning Group announces COVID-19 booster shot availability

By Olivia Montes
Elm Staff Writer

Washington College Contingency Planning Group released updated information concerning guidance on COVID-19 booster vaccinations and other related campus-wide policies.

As of Oct. 29, among the WC student population, the CPG was pleased to announce the College has “gone six weeks with no new [COVID-19] cases” after two positive cases at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester, according to the College COVID-19 Dashboard last updated Nov. 1.

In addition to this news, while the COVID-19 booster shot is now available, it is “not part of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement,” but “a personal decision” that WC students, faculty, and staff members should make alongside consultation from family members and primary healthcare providers, according to the CPG email sent on Oct. 29. 

To be eligible to receive a booster shot, you must be at least 18 years old living in long-term care settings, have preexisting medical conditions — including “asthma, diabetes, or other immune deficiencies,” according to the preliminary email — or live and/or work in high-risk settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention link provided in the email. 

According to the link, for students 18 or older who initially received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, they must wait at least six months after their second shot, and can obtain a booster shot from any of the COVID-19 shots authorized in the United States. If individuals 18 or older received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, it is encouraged they wait at least two months after their second shot, and can obtain a booster shot from any of the COVID-19 shots authorized in the U.S.

If students do decide to receive a booster vaccine, the College is requiring them to again log into the Health Portal and upload a copy of updated vaccine cards. 

 As of Oct. 29, there is still availability to receive COVID-19 booster shots in the surrounding Kent County area. Walgreens in Chestertown will be giving Moderna booster doses, while Walgreens in Chester and Denton will be giving Pfizer doses, and Walgreens in Easton has all three doses available. Individuals must schedule appointments online. Walk-ins are not allowed.

The Kent County Health Department will begin giving doses as of Nov. 1. Individuals are encouraged to visit their website for an available link to call or sign up to receive a booster shot. While they have all three doses available, they will be only giving recipients the same type as they previously received. This policy is liable to change, according to the email.

The Chester River Pharmacy currently has only Moderna booster shots, but will allow individuals to receive this even if they got Pfizer or J&J. Walk-in appointments are accepted Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

The CPG also sent a reminder concerning their campus-wide mask policy. According to the email, “masks are required by all when indoors, regardless of vaccination status.” Single-layer bandanas, gaiters, and similar face coverings are not considered appropriate. Refreshers concerning this policy are available on the CDC website.

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