Harvard affiliates secure Covid-19 booster shots from campus | News – Community News

Harvard affiliates secure Covid-19 booster shots from campus | News

While Harvard University Health Services doesn’t offer Covid-19 booster shots yet, students and other Harvard affiliates said they’ve gotten booster shots from local pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.

In an interview on Oct. 28, HUHS Executive Director Giang T. Nguyen said HUHS plans to offer booster shots in the future but is now focused on providing primary Covid-19 doses and flu shots, which Harvard- students to receive by December. 10 to prevent a registration hold from being placed on their account.

“[A Covid-19 booster is] not something you should rush to get right now. And anyone who wants to do it really fast can get it for free at a commercial pharmacy, so that’s also an option if you don’t want to wait to get a booster through HUHS,” Nguyen said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded eligibility for Covid-19 booster injections on Oct. 21 to include those who initially received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines more than six months ago and are 65 and older, or 18 and older. while in long-term care facilities, high-risk settings, or underlying health conditions.

Anyone 18 years or older who has received at least two months after receiving an initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also eligible for a booster shot.

Zachary J. Lech ’24 said he opted for the J&J one-time vaccine in May because he was unsure of his summer plans and worried he might not be able to get a second dose.

On October 29, days after the CDC approved mixing and matching of Covid-19 boosters, Lech received a Moderna booster. He said there were no appointments available at the Cambridge Health Alliance, so he took the first one available at a Boston Walgreens location.

Lech called HUHS’s decision not to give booster shots yet “just ridiculous”.

“We have vaccination rates of over 95 percent among all members of the Harvard community. The university insists that public health is its priority,” Lech said. “And yet, although there is no real demand for the vaccines in our community, except among the people who want to receive booster shots, they are not available.”

“When it comes to getting the booster shots in other locations, Harvard students compete with the general public, and it’s very hard to get a date, especially if you want to get the booster shot quickly. So it’s a huge inconvenience,” he added.

Matt R. Thomas ’21, a graduate school of education student and dean of faculty at Kirkland House, has scheduled his Pfizer booster shot for Monday at a local Walgreens.

As a Harvard Teacher Fellow at a local high school, Thomas said he felt especially responsible for those around him.

“I feel like it’s really important to me just to be with so many different people every day, to make sure I’m doing my part not only to protect myself during the pandemic, but also to protect others I’m with.” keep in touch safe,” he said. said.

Thomas said he decided to get a booster shot “as soon as he learned that these were the CDC’s recommended guidelines and that the higher scientific authorities in this country noted that it was the best way to stay safe from Covid. ”

Other students said they were eligible for a booster shot due to mental illness. Those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression are eligible for one of the three boosters at least six months after their first dose.

Although Liz C. Hoveland ’22 brought depression documentation to her appointment at Central Square CVS, she said proof of eligibility was never asked for when she applied online or at the pharmacy.

The process of getting her Pfizer booster to the CVS was “so smooth,” Hoveland said, although she said it would have been “nice” if HUHS had offered boosters.

“I just don’t think there’s really a need for it right now,” she said. “I see no reason for HUHS to have to do them specifically unless they really see a question.”

Anna, a Ph.D. student who declined to give her last name and who granted The Crimson anonymity to discuss personal health issues, said she was originally given the Sputnik V vaccine, the only option available to her while living in rural Russia.

Anna said she didn’t feel like she had a choice about getting a booster, since Harvard required all affiliates to get an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccine, which Sputnik V is not.

Through Harvard University Health Services, Anna was revaccinated with two doses of Pfizer. She said going through the process “gave her a sense of protection psychologically.”

In an interview earlier this month, Nguyen said Harvard currently has no intention of mandating Covid-19 booster shots.

Hoveland said she hopes HUHS will implement a booster-shot mandate once all member companies qualify.

Ninety-six percent of the Harvard community is fully vaccinated. When boosters are released to the general public, I’d like to see 96 percent of Harvard community members get a boost as well,” she said.

—Writer Claire H. Guo can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @clairehguo.

—Writer Christine Mui can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @MuiChristine.

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