Correction: This photo was incorrectly attributed to Multimedia Editor Cassidy Jessup, it was actually provided courtesy of Danielle Wells.
On Aug. 18, public health and medical experts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a statement recommending booster shots for the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
Ferris is currently offering COVID-19 vaccines to students, faculty and staff and is looking into offering booster shots to students when it becomes available.
“Pop-up vaccine clinics will be held throughout campus during move-in week, and additional vaccine clinics will be scheduled if the demand is there. Students, faculty and staff can receive the vaccine by calling Birkam Health Center at x2614, option 2, to schedule an appointment,” said Michelle Rasmussen of the Ferris COVID-19 re-entry committee.
Additionally, Rasmussen explained that while Ferris doesn’t require individuals to get vaccinated, they’re encouraging faculty, staff and students to do so.
“The University announced a new vaccine incentive for students, #VaxxUp and Cash In! Daily and weekly prizes will be awarded to students who confirm their vaccination status in the MyFSU Healthy Dog portal,” Rasmussen said.
Pharmacy professor Michael Klepser pointed out that current data shows the vaccines work well for at least eight months. This figure coincides well with the federal recommendations for the booster, which state that starting the week of Sept. 20 and eight months after an individual’s second dose is when they can get a third.
“We do know that if someone has been infected with a previous strain of SARS-CoV-2 they do get some natural immunity that way[,] but it’s less effective and goes away faster than with the vaccine,” Klepser said.
Because of this fact, it’s important for people who’ve gotten COVID-19 to also get vaccinated to have a longer and stronger immunity.
Klepser also noted that America is currently only offering the third dose to people who have gotten the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, not the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
“We also anticipate booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine… we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots as well,” HHS said.
Rasmussen explained that the Ferris COVID-19 re-entry committee continues to monitor the federal, state and local guidelines for information about the third dose of the vaccine. When the time arises, Ferris and federal, state and local officials will work together with other university leaders and medical professionals to decide the best way for students, faculty and staff to receive their recommended vaccine.