Important health and wellness update from Drexel

Important health and wellness update from Drexel

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

Summary

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized new COVID-19 booster doses that are more effective against currently circulating COVID variants. Most adults who have been vaccinated are eligible to receive these booster shots, including all students.

  • Drexel will hold bivalent booster clinics and a flu vaccine for students October 12-13 and an additional bivalent booster clinic for staff on October 19.
  • Remember to follow Drexel’s COVID-19 guidelines, from concealment to event planning. Find the latest instructions at Drexel.edu/coronavirus.
  • When you protect yourself, you also protect family, friends, and society.

Dear Drexel students and colleagues,

Welcome to the new school year! It is great to see professional students, faculty and staff all over the campus. For many, this is the time to transition from virtual gatherings to in-person events. Although the COVID pandemic continues, we are starting the year with fewer restrictions, mainly due to a highly vaccinated campus community, more data-driven decisions and an improved understanding of the role that high filtration masks and good ventilation play in our ability to stay healthy. This letter contains important information about health and well-being at Drexel, including the latest updates on the COVID-19 booster vaccination, reminders about COVID protocols on campus and most recently about the approaching flu season.

New COVID-19 Booster Vaccines

Time to update your COVID-19 booster. CDC guidelines recommend that patients 12 years of age and older who have received the initial series of any of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines should receive a booster dose of the revised COVID-19 bivalent mRNA vaccine. Note that this is the only COVID booster vaccine now available in the United States. The CDC’s definition of a COVID-19 vaccine “updator” is a person who has completed the initial series of vaccinations and received the most recent COVID-19 booster vaccine recommended for them by the CDC. While many young people have experienced COVID infection over the past year, data consistently shows that keeping up with their COVID vaccination including boosters is more protective against infection and poor disease outcomes than natural infection. Moreover, by staying up to date with the coronavirus vaccination, you are not only protecting yourself but also your family, friends and the greater community.

To keep pace with the evolution of the coronavirus, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have revised formulas for booster vaccines. These new “bivalent” boosters boost the immune system’s response against both the original coronavirus strain and newer Omicron strains, and are now available to vaccinated adults across the country — including here in Drexel.

Who is eligible for new reinforcements?

Everyone 12 years of age or older who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 is eligible for a reformulated booster dose. (Moderna booster is allowed for those 18 and over.) You qualify 2 months after your last initial or booster vaccination, regardless of which vaccine/boosters you received previously. These new shots are boosters – intended to improve or maintain immune protection over time for those already vaccinated or even infected. If you have not received a primary vaccine for COVID-19 (Drexel requires community members to be vaccinated, with limited exceptions), you must receive the initial series before you are eligible for the new booster vaccine. If you have recently had a vaccination or are sick with COVID, you may wait several weeks or sometimes longer before choosing to schedule a bivalent booster. More information about the timing of a new boost is available on the CDC’s website or by speaking with your health care provider.

Get boost with Drexel

Drexel will make a bivalent booster vaccine available to students, faculty, and professional staff free of charge. Drexel will hold student Vaccine clinics next month on October 12-13. More information will be provided directly to students regarding these clinics. that employee A booster clinic with Sun Ray Pharmacy will take place on October 19 at the Learning Terrace of the Race Street Residences. Employees can schedule a bivalent COVID booster here.

Find a booster elsewhere

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

Be aware of the latest Drexel COVID guidelines

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

This year, students who live in college accommodation and have contracted the COVID-19 virus will be able to monitor their 5-day isolation period at 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 on isolation protocols can be found at Drexel’s place including any exceptions on the coronavirus response website, under What to do if you feel sick.

mask

face masks wanted In all health care settings and for students in health care courses. The mask must also be hidden for a full 5 days after a 5-day isolation period for anyone with COVID infection. If you are not feeling well but test negative for COVID, please consider wearing masks until you feel better. Drexel recommends hiding enclosed spaces when other people are around during periods of virus transmission. Signs are placed at building entrances as appropriate. Anyone can choose the mask at any time to add an extra layer of protection against airborne viruses. While pandemic conditions have improved significantly, please keep in mind that COVID-19 has changed the lives of some people in our community who must now hide health reasons. Plan events with everyone in mind by using well-ventilated spaces and creating ways that everyone can participate.

flu

We get a glimpse into the potential danger of the approaching flu season by looking at the experience of countries in the Southern Hemisphere going through the winter season. Available information indicates a strong flu season in our region in the coming winter. The flu vaccine will be available through Student Health. As previously mentioned, private student vaccination clinics offering both the new COVID booster flu shot and the flu shot will be held on campus from October 12-13. Employees are strongly encouraged to order the flu shot at area pharmacies or at primary care provider offices.

mental health resources

We continue to move forward through a fascinating and often challenging historical period. If you need mental health support during this time when you may be feeling uncertain, our university offers many resources. To schedule an appointment with an advisor, students can call 215.895.1415 or simply email Advisory@drexel.edu. Faculty, staff, and graduate students can contact a direct SupportLinc representative by calling 1.888.881.5462 for support.

We all share a responsibility to keep ourselves protected and protect others. COVID underscores how our choices can affect others.

A vibrant community cares about each other and deals with multiple aspects of health and well-being. Although many decisions about the pandemic are now left to individuals, we still generally operate as a community, often relying on each other to protect against infection. We are all looking forward to more time together, a rewarding academic year and continued return to the wonderful community that includes Drexel. Dragon thrive!

sincerely,

Marla J. Gould, MD

Chief Health Officer

Senior Vice President of Community Health

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