The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for specific populations. Individuals from 18 through 64 years of age who have frequent institutional or occupational exposure to COVID-19 are now allowed to use a single booster dose.
A surge in COVID-19 cases at Madrona K-8 school in Edmonds signals the danger of COVID-19 exposure in institutional environments. On Tuesday, Oct. 19, Madrona school closed for two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak. About a third of students had to be quarantined, and half of the students were sent home.
Students who are immunocompromised, with 28 days or more since their COVID-19 second dose, are eligible to take a single booster dose at any clinics that have booster shots available.
Nursing professor Heidi Monroe acknowledges the benefit of booster shots and stresses its importance in generating our immune system to fight back against COVID-19.
“Generally speaking, booster immunization is good science. ‘Boosters’ are so named because they boost/improve our immunity. We’ve all had various vaccination ‘series’ where we received multiple vaccine doses spread out over time,” said Monroe. “These boosters are done so that our immune systems are reminded to recognize the microbes and stop them from causing significant harm, and also to prevent us from spreading certain contagious illnesses to others.”
Seattle Pacific University students are qualified to get booster shots because of possible constant exposure to COVID-19. As more scientific evidence becomes available, booster shots may expand further to the general population.
First year sociology major Emma Grande shares that her grandmother just received her booster shot, encouraging Grande to do the same.
“As soon as I’m able to [get the booster shot], I’m planning to get it. So anything we can do to keep students safe with COVID, I’d love that,” Grande said.
Not all students feel it is safe or necessary to get the booster shot for the time being. Fourth year finance major Khalid Mohamed doesn’t think right now is the time to get a booster.
“Not right now. I just don’t think that I need it yet. If I need to do that in the future, like if the vaccination is expired, I will take that,” Mohamed said.
Conversely, fourth year chemistry major Anh Tran shares his concern for delta variants complications.
“Yes, I will take it whenever it is available. I think it will be effective against the complications from delta variants,” Tran said.
Regarding the concern for delta variants, nursing professor Bethany Rolfe Witham explains the mechanism of the COVID-19 vaccination series, including the booster shot.
“COVID-19 vaccination remains effective in preventing severe disease, but studies show that effectiveness decreases over time. This lower effectiveness is likely due to decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated, as well as the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant,” Witham said, “COVID-19 vaccine booster shots have been shown to increase the immune response which improves protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant.”
Because COVID-19 immunizations require special handling and storage protocols for the vaccine, COVID-19 vaccinations are not currently being given on campus by SPU’s Health Services department. However, Queen Anne Safeway, located one mile from SPU, is now open for a booster shot by appointment only and with no cost. Students can go to its website to book an appointment.
For more information about booster shot availability, visit https://local.pharmacy.safeway.com/wa/seattle/2100-queen-anne-ave-n.html.