Health Services holds booster clinic on campus

By Rebecca Osowski & Alexandra White – Features Editor & 1851 Contributor

Students await their booster shots at the clinic in de Witt Hall. Photo courtesy of Rich Arnold

On February 2, Health Services held a COVID-19 Booster Clinic in de Witt Hall for those eligible to receive their booster vaccine. The boosters were distributed by Osco Pharmacy and Shaw’s Supermarket and administered by pharmacists. 

According to Director of Health Services Richard Arnold, 296 boosters were administered.

The clinic was held to alleviate stress among students that may have trouble getting access to the vaccine.

“A lot of students don’t necessarily have transportation off campus to go to a local doctor or pharmacy to seek a vaccine,” Arnold said. “So, when we can host clinics like this, it’s also for a convenience factor.”

The booster became required for every member of the community on December 16. According to Arnold, after six months from receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, immunity against the virus begins to decrease.

The decision to require the booster vaccine was “based upon the data and science at the time, and we still meet twice a week with the [COVID-19] task force and we’re still looking at all kinds of data, local and national and global,” Arnold said.

While the booster does not prevent an individual from getting COVID-19, it does significantly decrease the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, death, and transmission, according to Arnold. 

Junior hospitality major Laurel Holmes and junior event management major Sophia Oliveras both went to the booster clinic. Like many students, they chose to attend the booster clinic because of its convenience. Holmes said she was surprised by how organized the event was. 

“They had booths for everybody to sit and get their shots, and they had a nice barrier between people who forgot to fill out their forms and then people who were getting the booster,” Holmes said. “Overall, I thought it went smoothly.”

At the clinic, students provided staff with the paperwork they filled out when they booked an appointment as well as their insurance card and student ID. Forms were also available for those who did not fill them out prior. 

Oliveras and Holmes said they had trouble finding appointments to get their boosters during winter break and were glad a booster clinic was held on campus.

Oliveras said she was able to get through the line and get her booster within 15 minutes. While at the clinic, students were asked to submit their booster records after they had their shot. “It was convenient because you could upload your status while you were there,” Oliveras said. “They had instructions on the chairs while you were waiting… You could upload it immediately to the portal, so it was done.”

While Arnold agrees the clinic was successful and went smoothly, he is open for feedback from those that attended. “I encourage feedback after any of these events, so we can look for improvement going forward,” Arnold said.

While convenience was the goal for the booster clinic, some students say Lasell shouldn’t have had the clinic on the same day as the deadline to upload COVID-19 booster records. 

“They made the booster shot on February 2, and then the booster clinic on February 2, I feel like there should be a little bit more time between those two,” said Holmes. “Also, maybe making it two days, because a lot of people ended up going.”     

While the Omicron variant continues to spread and talks of an Omicron specific booster vaccine are beginning, Arnold does not see Lasell requiring this vaccine for students, faculty, and staff.

“At this point, we are not requiring the Omicron specific vaccine, nor do I anticipate it because we have such a good level of protection with current boosters,” Arnold said. 

According to an email sent by Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs David Hennessey, the Lasell community has more than 98% vaccination rate.

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