Does the school of medicine have a plan regarding COVID boosters for students? And is there any guidance on if we need to wait a certain amount of time between the flu shot and the COVID booster?
At the current time, COVID booster vaccines are only recommended for certain populations. Those are persons with:
- Active cancer treatment
- Immunocompromised due to solid organ transplant, stem cell transplant, medical condition (i.e., DiGeorge Syndrome, Wiscott-Aldrich), advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Medication treatment with: high dose corticosteroids (i.e. prednisone 20mg or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, chemotherapeutic agents, tumor necrosis blockers, and other biologic agents that might suppress the immune system.
If you are a student with one of the above conditions, you should contact TMC Occupational Health to request a booster. The third vaccine should occur at least 28 days after the second vaccine dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
For all other students, know that we are monitoring booster recommendations very closely. If the CDC, ACIP, HHS and/or Occupational Health recommend booster vaccination for our workforce members, students will be instructed about how to obtain an additional vaccine. As primary healthcare providers, students will be included in the vaccination plan for all healthcare personnel.
The SOM has told students that they need to get the flu vaccine by October 1st; however, the flu vaccine is most effective when taken in mid-to-late October so it lasts throughout flu season. With the COVID-19 booster shots becoming available on Sept 20th, what is the best way for students to navigate getting both vaccines? Should we get both on the same day. Do we need to wait 3 weeks in between them (putting the flu vaccine past October 1st)? Personally, I would like to get my COVID-19 booster 8 months after I got the 2nd dose (1/15) and get the flu vaccine in mid-October so I am protected throughout the flu season–will the school allow this?
The incidence of flu infection begins in October, so being vaccinated and having time to develop antibodies prior to that is most helpful for healthcare workers. Although it is suspected that flu vaccine immunity wanes after six months, there is data to suggest that it actually lasts longer. Either way, flu infections are typically decreasing by March so your September vaccine does protect you until then (at least).
See the above question for COVID vaccine boosters, as most people do not meet the criteria for a booster vaccine at this time. If the CDC, HHS, and/or Occupational Health determine that a third COVID vaccine booster is needed, it can be administered along with other vaccines. Here is a link from the CDC that addresses this question: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/covid-19-vaccines-us.html#Coadministration.
For now, the flu vaccine deadline will remain October 1 as per the TMC requirement. We certainly want all students to meet this deadline so that you can continue your clinical endeavors. If the deadline changes, we will be sure to notify all students promptly.