Jakob Eiseman, Former Editor-in-Chief
John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
The updated COVID-19 booster is bivalent, meaning it contains components from two different strains.
La Salle University is set to host two on-campus vaccine clinics for members of the La Salle community in the Union Ballroom. It will provide those eligible with the updated COVID-19 boosters as well as this season’s flu shot free of charge. Any member of the La Salle community 18 years or older is eligible to attend. The first clinic will be held Oct. 12 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the second on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The clinics will only offer the updated COVID-19 booster to those who received their single dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or their second dose of their Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series more than two months prior to booster administration. Those who have already received a booster to their COVID-19 vaccination or series, must have received the booster more than two months prior to be eligible for the new booster.
The updated COVID-19 booster is bivalent, meaning it contains material from two strains of the virus. It contains a portion of the original COVID strain that was known to be the cause of the pandemic since March of 2020, as well as a portion of the BA 1 Omicron strain, which was first identified late last year. By most accounts, those who received their original vaccine or series were protected heavily against the symptoms of Omicron, but not entirely from the virus itself.
This new booster promises to raise immune system protection against COVID-19 and Omicron, as well as bolstering symptom resistance already granted by the original vaccine.
The La Salle University COVID-19 portal’s latest information states that since the beginning of this semester, 75 members of the La Salle community have contracted COVID-19. Continuing to mask, test regularly and shelter in place are still the most effective and simplest ways to stop the spread of COVID-19, but adding a first or second COVID booster to your arsenal is perhaps the best way to protect yourself from the virus.
In addition to COVID boosters, the vaccine clinic will also provide flu vaccines to those who request one. The CDC has stated that “while limited data exist on giving COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines… experience with giving other vaccines together has shown the way our bodies develop protection and possible side effects are generally similar whether vaccines are given alone or with other vaccines.”
Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said in an interview with NPR, “If we have a serious influenza season, and if the Omicron variants continue to cause principally mild disease, this coming winter could be a much worse flu season than COVID.” He also said that this could finally be the year that we see the rise of the long-warned “twindemic,” a season in which COVID-19 and Influenza are just as infectious.
Even those that do not traditionally receive their flu vaccine are encouraged to consider it this season, as the possibility of a twindemic or flu outbreak on campus alongside steadily climbing late year COVID numbers could send the La Salle community back online if not kept in check.
To register for a COVID-19 bivalent booster, flu vaccine or both, click here or email COVID19@lasalle.edu for details.