Important Health and Wellness Update from Drexel

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The following message, providing important updates on campus health and wellness information, has been sent to the Drexel community:

Summary

  • The FDA has authorized new COVID-19 booster shots that are more effective against currently circulating COVID variants. Most vaccinated adults are eligible to receive these booster shots, including all students.

  • Drexel will be hosting dual COVID and flu shot booster clinics for students on October 12 and 13 and an additional dual booster clinic for employees on October 19.
  • Remember to follow Drexel’s COVID-19 guidelines, from masking to event planning. Find the latest guidelines at Drexel.edu/coronavirus.
  • When you protect yourself, you also protect your family, friends and community.

Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues,

Welcome to the new academic year! It’s wonderful to see students, faculty and professional staff on campus. For many, it’s a time to navigate between virtual gatherings and in-person events. Although the COVID pandemic persists, we are starting the year with fewer restrictions, primarily due to a highly immunized campus community, more data-driven decision-making, and a better understanding of the role that masks with high filtration and good ventilation play into our ability to stay healthy. This post contains important health and wellness information at Drexel, including the most recent updates on the COVID-19 booster vaccination, reminders on campus COVID protocols, and the latest information on the season. approaching flu.

New COVID-19 booster vaccines

It’s time to update your COVID-19 booster. CDC guidelines recommend that patients 12 years of age and older who have received the primary series of one of the licensed COVID-19 vaccines receive a booster dose of the revised bivalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. Note that this is the only COVID booster vaccine currently available in the United States. The CDC’s definition of “up to date” with the COVID-19 vaccine is someone who has completed their primary vaccine series and received the most recent COVID-19 booster vaccine recommended for them by the CDC. While many young adults have been infected with COVID over the past year, data consistently shows that being up-to-date with COVID vaccination, including boosters, is more protective against infection and disease results worse than natural infection. Plus, by staying up to date with the COVID vaccination, you’re not only protecting yourself, but you’re also protecting your family, friends, and the wider community.

To follow the evolution of the coronavirus, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have reviewed the formulas of their booster vaccines. These new “bivalent” boosters improve the immune system’s response against the original strain of coronavirus and the new strains of omicron, and they are becoming available to vaccinated adults nationwide – including here at Drexel.

Who is eligible for the new boosters?

Anyone 12 years and older who is vaccinated against COVID-19 is eligible for a reformulated booster shot (Moderna Booster is allowed for ages 18+). You are eligible two months after your last primary or booster vaccination, regardless of which vaccine/booster you received previously. These new vaccines are boosters – intended to improve or maintain immune protection over time for people who have already been vaccinated or even infected. If you have not yet received a primary COVID-19 vaccine (Drexel requires community members to be vaccinated, with some exceptions), you must receive the primary series before you are eligible for the new booster vaccine . If you were recently vaccinated or sick with COVID, you may wait several weeks or sometimes longer before choosing to schedule your bivalent booster. More information about the new booster schedule is available on the CDC’s website or by speaking with your healthcare provider.

Get boosted with Drexel

Drexel will provide the bivalent booster vaccine free of charge to students, faculty and professional staff. Drexel will hold student vaccination clinics next month on October 12 and 13. More information will be provided directly to students regarding these clinics. A employee a booster clinic will be held with Sunray Pharmacy on October 19 at the Learning Terrace of the Race Street Residences. Employees can schedule their COVID bivalent callback appointment here.

Find a booster elsewhere

As new booster doses are rolled out across the United States, more local pharmacies have available time slots for individuals to receive the bivalent COVID booster. For other locations that have the new booster vaccination, you can visit www.vaccines.gov/ to find a pharmacy near you.

Familiarize yourself with the latest Drexel COVID guidelines

In addition to getting your reminder, please continue to follow Drexel’s COVID-19 guidelines on what to do when you feel sick, test positive, or are exposed to COVID-19. PCR tests are available on campus. Rapid home tests are still covered by most insurance and available at most major pharmacies.

This year, students who live in university residences and who are infected with COVID-19 will be able to observe their 5-day isolation period in their place of residence and receive complete information at the time of isolation. Roommates are asked to discuss their plans in advance, should this situation arise. More detailed information regarding Drexel’s on-site isolation protocols, including any exceptions, can be found on our coronavirus response website, under what to do if you feel sick.

Masking

Face masks are obligatory in all healthcare spaces and for healthcare rotation students. Masking is also required for 5 full days after a 5 day isolation period for anyone infected with COVID. If you are not feeling well but the COVID test is negative, please consider masking up until you are feeling better. Drexel recommends masking indoors when around other people during times of increased viral transmission. Signs are posted at building entrances, where applicable. Anyone can choose to mask up at any time to add an extra layer of protection against airborne viruses. Although the conditions of the pandemic have improved significantly, please know that the COVID-19 has changed the lives of some people in our community who must now always wear a mask for health reasons. Plan events with everyone in mind by using well-ventilated spaces and creating ways for everyone to participate.

Flu

We get some insight into the possible severity of an approaching flu season by looking at the experience of countries in the southern hemisphere going through their winter season. Available information points to a robust flu season in our region this winter. The flu vaccine will be available through Student Health. As previously reported, special student vaccination clinics offering both the new COVID booster and the flu vaccine will be held on campus on October 12-13. Employees are strongly encouraged to get their flu shot at area pharmacies or the offices of their primary care providers.

Mental health resources

We continue to live through a remarkable and often difficult period in history. If you need mental health support during this seemingly uncertain time, our University offers many resources. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, students can call 215.895.1415 or simply email [email protected] Faculty, staff, and graduate students can contact a live SupportLinc representative by calling 1.888.881.5462 for assistance.

We all share the responsibility to protect ourselves and others. COVID highlights how our choices can affect others.

A vibrant community takes care of each other and addresses multiple aspects of health and wellness. Although many pandemic-related decisions are now left to individuals, we still operate globally as a community, often depending on each other to protect us from infection. We all look forward to more time together, a rewarding academic year, and a continued return to the wonderful community that includes Drexel. Dragons are thriving!

Sincerely,

Marla J. Gold, MD

Chief Wellness Officer

Senior Vice-Rector for Community Health

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