Fordham Student and Faculty Start Receiving COVID-19 Booster Shots on Campus

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Fordham students and faculty can start receiving Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots in Health Services. (Courtesy of Unsplash)

Isabel Danzis , Assistant News Editor

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Pfizer’s vaccination booster for the existing COVID-19 vaccine. Health Services has begun to distribute this booster to students and faculty who are eligible on the Rose Hill campus.

Per New York City guidelines, all who receive the booster must be at least 65 years or older or have a pre-existing condition that makes them more susceptible to serious infection. In addition, only those who received the second dose of their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at least six months ago can get a booster shot. Those who received either the Johnson & Johnson or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are not eligible for a booster at this time.

“The CDC has been very clear that providers are not allowed to administer Pfizer boosters to anyone unless they received Pfizer as the primary series,” said Dean of Student Services Keith Eldredge. “Doing so is in violation of the Provider Agreement with the CDC and could result in a vaccine being removed, as well as put the provider at risk of liability, as its administration would not be covered under the Prep Act.”

Fordham began distributing the Moderna vaccine in April and has since expanded its vaccine distribution program to offer the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well, according to Fordham’s official website. The university has had the supply of vaccines to start offering them as booster shots for a while, said Eldredge. However, administrators needed authorization from the state before doing so.

“The university was approved as a COVID-19 vaccine site in December 2020, and the Pfizer vaccine being administered as a booster or the third dose is no different than the original vaccine,” said Eldredge. “[As a vaccination site], we are eligible to order the vaccine although there is no guarantee our order will be filled based on availability from New York State.”

As of Oct. 16, 2021, the Rose Hill campus had 14 cases of COVID-19, and 97.33% of the student population is fully vaccinated.
While the vaccination rate is high on campus, many students are still anxious to get a booster shot. “Even though most everyone on campus is vaccinated, I still think I would feel more comfortable with a booster shot,” said Claire Bickel, FCRH ’24.

Bickel said she has type one diabetes, which makes her more susceptible to serious COVID-19 infection. “Because of my diabetes, I was able to get vaccinated earlier than others last semester, which I was grateful for,” said Bickel. “I think people assume that just because I’m young that I am 100% healthy or that COVID won’t hurt me. That’s not true, and that’s why I’m going to get a booster shot.”

Fordham required vaccination for students and faculty to return to on-campus and in-person activity this semester. That requirement did not include any stipulations about getting a booster shot as they became available.

According to Eldredge, as of right now, there has been no discussion in the university about requiring booster shots for students or university employees.

As of Oct. 8, five vaccine boosters had been administered on campus. Students and faculty who are eligible for a vaccine booster can schedule an appointment for vaccination online. The booster will be given out on Friday, Oct. 22 at Rose Hill. Students with questions can also reach Health Services at 718-817-4160 or visit its office on the lower level of O’Hare Hall.

In addition to the Pfizer booster shot, the FDA is expected to authorize booster shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson this week, according to a report from the New York Times.