In an email to the campus community Friday, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel announced all Ann Arbor faculty, staff and students, including Michigan Medicine employees covered by the U-M vaccination policy, must receive a booster shot for COVID-19 by Feb. 4 or as soon as they are eligible to receive an additional dose. According to the University Record, all students, faculty and staff on the Flint and Dearborn campuses will also be required to receive a booster shot.
Currently, all individuals 16 and older are eligible to receive a Pfizer booster shot six months after their second dose, and individuals 18 and older are eligible to receive an additional dose of Moderna six months after their second dose. Individuals who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible to receive a booster two months after their initial dose.
According to Schlissel, the move comes after a case of the omicron variant was detected in a student living off campus. The student did not attend classes during the infectious period, Schlissel wrote.
“We are tracking carefully omicron spread in our state and on campus, as well as emerging data regarding how well vaccination and boosters prevent infection and serious illness,” Schlissel wrote. “Currently, data suggest that the severity of illness caused by omicron is not worse and may be less severe than that caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19 and that vaccination remains highly protective against hospitalization and death.”
Additionally, the University will require all students living in residence halls to receive a COVID-19 test through the COVID-19 Sampling & Tracking Program when they return to campus for the winter semester. Face-coverings will also be required in residence halls through at least Jan. 17 regardless of vaccination status. Previously, students living in residence halls who were fully vaccinated were not required to wear a face-covering.
Details on how to self-report COVID-19 booster status to the University will be available in January.
Other institutions, including Michigan State University, have already announced similar measures to require booster shots. On Tuesday, Cornell University also shut down its campus for the remainder of the semester due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant among its students.
This article has been updated to reflect the news that the booster shot will be required on the Flint and Dearborn campuses in addition to Ann Arbor.
Daily News Editor George Weykamp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.