COVID-19 booster vaccines will be required for Western Washington University staff and students starting Sept. 1, 2022, according to an email update from Western’s COVID Support Team.
To be eligible for in-person activities after Sept. 1, students and faculty, unless exempt due to medical or religious reasons, must have proof they have received their booster submitted to the university. Students can do this by uploading a picture of their vaccination card to their MyWestern Health account.
“I’m an out-of-state student, so I have to travel back and forth from Washington to Texas pretty frequently to see family,” second-year Western student Emma Wood said. “Some of my family members are immunocompromised, along with being around a lot of people traveling, I’m pretty supportive of having the booster being required.”
Most adults are eligible for a booster shot five months after their primary vaccination series, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. If a student or employee is not yet able to receive their booster shot by Sept. 1, they will have 30 days until after their eligibility date to provide their updated vaccination card to the university in order to participate in in-person events.
“There was a really great response to the initial vaccine requirement,” third-year student Halle Pernett said. “I think a majority of students have already been boostered so I’m not super worried about a backlash.”
98.4 million people in the U.S. have received a booster vaccine out of 218.1 million people who are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
“I’m hopeful that people will also be in support of getting vaccinated and having people around them be vaccinated,” Wood said. “I’m also hoping that, even though the mask mandate is going to be lifted, people still, to some degree at least, wear a mask if they’re around a large concentration of people and try to social distance at least a little bit.”
Western’s mask mandate will lift after the second week of spring quarter on April 11.
Western plans to hold more vaccine clinics throughout the spring to help students comply with this new requirement. Vaccine appointments outside of Western can be made online.
Simone Higashi (she/her) is a third-year News Editorial student and senior reporter for The Front. Simone likes to knit and read in her free time. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.