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On Friday, University President Mark Schlissel announced in an email to the campus community that all University of Michigan faculty, staff and students, including Michigan Medicine under the U-M vaccine policy, are required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot by Feb. 4 or as soon as they are eligible thereafter. Here’s everything you need to know about the booster mandate.
Why was this decision made?
In the email sent Friday, Schlissel wrote the decision came after the omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in a student living off campus. In addition to the booster mandate, the University will require increased testing and face coverings in residence halls to diminish the spread of COVID-19 during the winter term.
“The set of preventive measures I’m announcing today are steps we’re taking in advance to prepare to have a safe and successful winter term on our campus,” Schlissel wrote.
Schlissel wrote that vaccinations play a pivotal role in preventing hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19, even from the omicron variant. Schlissel also wrote the mitigation measures are important to keep the U-M community safe when campus repopulates in January.
Who does the COVID-19 booster mandate apply to?
Under a revised U-M vaccination policy, the booster mandate applies to all students, faculty and staff across all three U-M campuses (Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn) and Michigan Medicine, even those working remotely.
Bargained-for U-M employees, including Michigan Medicine Nurses, who are not currently covered by the University’s vaccination policy are still subject to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
When should I get the COVID-19 booster?
All individuals on the Ann Arbor campus required to get the booster should receive it by Feb. 4, or as soon as you are eligible based on your personal vaccination schedule.
Where can I report my COVID-19 booster?
Details on how you can self-report your booster status for each U-M campus will be available in January.
Which COVID-19 booster should I get?
If you received the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or J&J/Janssen vaccine, you may choose any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States as a booster shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mix and match dosing for booster shots is allowed.
If you received other vaccine types, you may get a single booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months after you received all recommended doses of a WHO emergency use list (WHO-EUL) COVID-19 vaccine, or completed a mix and match series composed of any combination of FDA-approved, FDA-authorized or WHO-EUL COVID-19 vaccines.
Where can I get the COVID-19 booster?
There are plenty of vaccine opportunities through the University and in the surrounding Ann Arbor area. Click here to find a vaccine clinic near you.
I’m not eligible to get the COVID-19 booster before Feb. 4. What should I do?
Individuals who are not eligible for a booster shot by the Feb. 4 deadline should plan to get their booster as soon as they are eligible.
With the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, individuals can receive their boosters six months after completing their primary series of vaccinations. With the J&J/Janssen vaccine, individuals can get their boosters two months after receiving their vaccination.
I have an exemption for the vaccine, do I need to reapply for the booster?
According to University Spokesperson Dana Elger, individuals already granted an exemption to the U-M vaccination policy do not need to take any further action. They must continue to receive a weekly test and wear a face-covering indoors on University property.
I’m not comfortable getting a COVID-19 booster yet. Is there someone I can talk to?
Members of the U-M community with further questions about the booster can speak to a group of university-provided advisers. These resources are available to all students and employees on all three campuses as well as Michigan Medicine. The advisers can speak to general questions about the vaccine and its safety, but they will not address issues related to university policy.
I’m fully vaccinated, but I don’t want to get the booster. What will happen?
According to U-M COVID-19 vaccination policy, individuals are required to “complete their vaccine series according to the recommended schedule, including any boosters.”
Students who do not comply with the policy will have an administrative hold placed on their accounts and could be subject to other accountability measures.
Employees who do not comply with the policy are subject to administrative interventions and disciplinary actions, including unpaid disciplinary layoffs, ineligibility for future merit increases and possible dismissal.
Daily Staff Reporters Jingqi Zhu and Carly Brechner can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.