Vaccine Updates and Holiday Guidance
A Message from the COVID-19 Coordinator
Dear Members of the Yale Community,
As we approach the holiday season, when many of us will be traveling and spending more time with family and friends, I am focusing my message once again on COVID-19 vaccination, which remains our most powerful tool to reduce the risk of severe illness from the virus and to prevent transmission to others. I will also share resources to help you plan your travels and holiday gatherings with safety as well as festivity in mind.
Who is eligible for COVID-19 Vaccinations?
As I have written previously, boosters for all three of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines—Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer), Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J)—have now been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many members of our community have already received boosters and many more are eligible, including those 18 years of age and older who work in educational settings or who live in congregate housing, such as residential colleges and dormitories. Additionally, anyone who received the J&J vaccine should receive a booster two months or more after their initial vaccination.
Of course, everyone 18 years of age and older remains eligible to receive their initial series of vaccinations with any of the three currently authorized vaccines. Additionally, last week the CDC extended eligibility for the initial Pfizer vaccine series beyond the previously recommended 12 years and older age range to include children ages 5 through 11.
Over the weekend, the Yale COVID-19 Vaccine Program held its first pediatric clinic at 310 Winchester Avenue. Yale Health staff were well-prepared to provide vaccinations—as well as some fun activities—for this age group. Nearly 350 first doses were administered to children ages 5 through 11. According to Nanci Fortgang, RN, MPA CMPE, Director of the Yale COVID-19 Vaccine Program, “The excitement was palpable.” You can see that excitement for yourself in the photos below.
How can I learn more about vaccines?
The Yale School of Public Health recently released an edition of its Yale Public Health magazine devoted to vaccines, including those for COVID-19. If you are interested in more information about vaccines and the important roles that our faculty and researchers have played throughout this pandemic, I encourage you to read this issue.
How can I prepare for the holidays?
Many of us are eager to reunite with family and friends and to rekindle treasured traditions during the holiday season. Understandably, since COVID-19 transmission rates remain elevated in many parts of the country, we may also have some concerns about engaging in travel and other activities that we have avoided for many months. While vaccination provides the best protection, there are other measures you can take to make travel and gatherings as safe as possible. Environmental Health and Safety has published updated safer travel practices and new December holiday gathering guidance to acquaint you with those measures.
Do not hesitate to take advantage of Yale’s COVID-19 Screening Program for COVID-19 tests that may be required prior to your planned travel or events. Remember also that university policies may require you to test and quarantine upon your return to campus.
As you prepare for the upcoming holiday season, I hope you will find this information helpful. Once again, please accept my deepest gratitude and admiration for your extraordinary efforts in keeping our campus as safe as possible.
Stephanie S. Spangler, M.D.
Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
University COVID-19 Coordinator