The newly U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved COVID-19 boosters that target the more infectious subvariant Omicron are now available at the University Health Services center.
The new boosters are from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. People who are 18 and older are eligible for the Moderna booster while those who are 12 and older are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech boosters. An individual has to wait at least two months after receiving the initial Covid-19 vaccination before getting a booster.
In Lafayette County, 56% of residents are fully vaccinated while only 24% are currently vaccinated and boosted.
Students and employees at Ole Miss are considering their options for taking the new boosters.
According to Sandra Bentley, a pharmacist at the University Health Services, the center received the boosters this week.
“We just received it this week. We have given a lot,” Bentley said. “We try to give shots from 1-3 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We are encouraging it.”
Iyonia Bankston, a social work major, decided to take the vaccine.
“Yes (I got the booster) because it matters, and everyone talks about why we should take it,” Bankston said.
Other students on campus, however, aren’t planning on taking the booster.
“I’m actually not considering taking the new vaccine booster,” Caitlin Parker, a computer science major, said. “The only reason I considered taking the other one is because it seemed mandatory, but I don’t really like how those vaccines make me feel.”
Parker said that vaccination side effects included soreness and bruising.
Some on campus have more serious reservations about being immunized.
“I don’t think people should be so quick to take them because with it coming out so quickly, you don’t know what’s in them,” Uniqueka Gregory, an Aramark employee who works at Crosby Hall Provisions on Demand, said. “I just think the government needs guinea pigs to test these products on.”
Though health experts have raised concerns about the shot’s long-term effectiveness as the COVID-19 virus continues to mutate, there has been no empirical evidence to suggest that the vaccine is unsafe or largely ineffective.
To appease these concerns, experts said that the data used by the FDA to authorize the shot included human studies of earlier experimental bivalent shots, including one that generated virus-fighting antibodies against the first omicron subvariant.
According to Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the updated COVID-19 boosters add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine to advance protection for individuals. The current add-ons help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccinations by targeting the variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading.”
Nearly 358 people within the United Stated die daily from the virus while an average of 67,000 people are diagnosed daily.
The COVID-19 vaccination studies have shown evidence that individuals who have been vaccinated have less severe complications from COVID-19 and its sub variants.
The FDA granted emergency use of the boosters to slow the high number of cases daily within the United States, with the Omicron variants being more contagious than the previous variant.
The new COVID-19 boosters are also available in Oxford at Chaney’s Pharmacy, Walgreens, G&M pharmacies and CVS.