UNC students who live in a residence hall and/or have an underlying medical condition can receive COVID-19 booster shots at on-campus vaccination sites.
The Carolina Together Testing Program Team made the announcement in a campus message on Oct. 6, citing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that approved booster vaccinations for adults with underlying medical conditions and people living in high-risk settings.
UNC students who live in close quarters, such as off-campus apartments and houses, are also eligible, Michelle Camarena, director of nursing and performance improvement at Campus Health, said.
Those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine must wait at least six months after their second dose to receive a booster, in addition to meeting the underlying medical conditions and/or high-risk setting requirement, according to the UNC Campus Health website. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are recommended for a booster shot when it has been over two months since they received their vaccine.
The CDC has approved “mix-and-match” booster shots, meaning students can receive any of the three companies’ boosters regardless of which vaccine they originally received. The University is offering all three booster options.
Camarena said it is beneficial for the UNC community to have access to different booster shots.
“It’s a chance for us to implement the science that’s coming out,” Camarena said. “We’re fortunate to have access to this science and to be able to implement it and to have the resources to make it available.”
So far, the University has administered booster shots at two vaccination clinics on Oct. 11 and Oct. 26. Booster shots were already made available to UNC health science students who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine over six months ago.
Anna Pickens, a junior teaching assistant in the Kenan-Flagler Business School, got the Pfizer booster vaccine at an off-campus clinic. She said she was eager to protect not only herself, but also the Chapel Hill community.
“It’s really about the greater good,” Pickens said. “It’s about protecting not just the college students here, but remembering that Chapel Hill is an actual town and people have full-time lives here, and the community members deserve to be safe.”
Campus Health will continue to host vaccine clinics at different locations across campus. In addition, boosters will be available to students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows by appointment, and walk-ins will be available at the Student Stores Pharmacy and the Campus Health Pharmacy.
Amy Sauls, director of pharmacy and professional services at Campus Health, said booster shots are important for students in continuing to protect themselves and others from becoming sick.
“I think Tar Heels want to take care of each other, and when you get vaccinated, you’re helping to take care of your immediate family and friends, people you’re around a lot and just the community at large," Sauls said.
Campus Health officials said another vaccine clinic will be held in early November. Students who plan to receive their booster shot on campus should bring their vaccination and insurance cards.
For more information on booster shots and how to schedule an appointment, visit the Campus Health website.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed an Oct. 6 campus message. The information was announced by The Carolina Together Testing Program Team. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
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