Campus has tepid interest in new Omicron booster

Vincent Matthew Franco
Arts Editor

A recent informal survey on campus found that nine out of 21 students at the University of La Verne did not know anything about the newly updated Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster that has been available since early September.

After being informed that the new shot exists, five of those nine students said they were not sure if they ever wanted to take the booster.

Four of the 21 surveyed said they might take the new shot, but would need to do some research before coming to a decision. Only one of the 21 interviewed had already gotten the newest vaccine.

This is all despite the fact that at this point 100% of COVID cases are caused by the Omicron variant, which also was the most resistant variant to the original COVID vaccine. That is why drug companies including Pfizer and Moderna worked on formulating the new Omicron-specific vaccine, which became widely available in early September.

Ciera Lundy, a senior educational studies major and the one student who got the Omicron vaccine,  said she did so to protect herself.

“It’s been quite a bit of time since our last booster,” Lundy said. “And so I felt like if there’s any way I can up my chances of being safe, I’d do it.” 

Lundy said she considered the children she will soon be working with when deciding to get the booster. 

She said it gives her anxiety not knowing the vaccination status of kids she’ll be working with a teacher.

Senior sociology major James Edwards Milliken, on the other hand, said she does not feel such a need to receive this booster, or any of the other COVID vaccinations. He believes all the COVID vaccines are still too new to be trusted.

“Due to the fact that I am military, I had everything from the anthrax shots and a lot of other shots that are boosting my immune system, (and)I’m not fully trusting of the shots right now, to where they won’t interact with me in some type of way, shape or form,” Milliken said.

Nathan Valiente, a senior psychology major, simply did not know the newly formulated booster existed. He said he’d “maybe” get the new shot, though he added that he worries less and less about COVD these days.

The University of La Verne will partner with the local Vons pharmacy to set up a one-day booster site shot on campus for students from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hanawalt House on Oct. 21. Both the Moderna and Pfizer boosters will be available.

Students can make an appointment by scanning the QR code on the flyers posted around campus, and they must have the initial COVID-19 vaccine series completed in order to get an appointment.

“Ultimately, it’s a personal choice; everyone gets to make a choice that’s right for them.” Jamie Solis, director of student health services, said. “And as long as they read up, and they know all the information that they think is important to them, and they’ve read from multiple sources, from a scientific perspective, then they can make an informed decision that’s right for them.”

Contact nurse of the university, Alura Williams, wants to encourage students to make appointments and get boosted as soon as possible.

For those who do plan to get the new vaccine, Solis recommends drinking plenty of water before and after receiving it. She also suggests people stay as mobile as possible, to help the body metabolize the shot. 

Solis said the number of COVID-19 cases at ULV have remained low since the start of the academic year, lining up with Los Angeles County’s, relatively low rates of COVID infection at this time. 

Vincent Matthew Franco can be reached at vincent.franco@laverne.edu.

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Vincent Matthew Franco is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. He has been involved in journalism and print media in high school, community college and is now at the social media editor of the Campus Times and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. He previously served as arts editor.

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