COVID-19 is still going around. Despite declining case counts nationwide, our country currently faces about 55,000 new infections and hundreds of deaths a day. At Brown, many of us know peers who have recently been infected. Many have dealt with the hasty isolation measures triggered when suitemates suffer flu-like symptoms and the sudden returns to Zoom lectures from isolation.
Thankfully, there is a simple solution for limiting the spread of COVID-19 — all eligible students should get the new booster shot.
Boosters are highly effective. As Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky stated earlier this month, the new “bivalent” booster shots better protect against the currently circulating COVID-19 variant and restore waning immunity from previous vaccinations or infections.
Brown students may not realize that they are eligible for the updated booster. If it has been at least two months since your last shot, you qualify for the new booster — though experts recommend waiting three months after your last COVID-19 infection. Like the regular flu vaccine, these boosters are readily accessible, convenient and free — simply book your appointment at the nearest pharmacy.
By one estimate cited by the CDC, the widespread adoption of an annual COVID-19 vaccine could prevent as many as 100,000 hospitalizations and 9,000 deaths nationwide. Receiving the booster shot ― in the same way we get regular immunizations for other diseases ― is an easy and effective step students can take to protect themselves and the community, especially the most vulnerable among us.
We are no longer facing the myriad restrictions on dining, indoor social events and large outdoor gatherings we faced in the past. But we should still be responsible for keeping our community safe in order to maintain the “normal” college experience that we all cherish.
When a booster shot that lowers the risk of contracting the latest COVID-19 variant is only one click away, we should take that opportunity to not only help ourselves but also maintain the health and safety of others around campus and beyond.
Editorials are written by The Herald’s Editorial Page Board. This editorial was written by its editor Johnny Ren ’23 and members Irene Chou ’23, Caroline Nash ’22.5, Augustus Bayard ’24, Devan Paul ’24 and Kate Waisel ’24.