January 3 update:
Both on-campus and off-campus residents who have in-person classes are now required to receive a vaccine booster shot before returning to Binghamton University for the spring 2022 semester. According to a Jan. 3 B-Line News Addition, SUNY and Gov. Kathy Hochul have determined that students who do not have a prior medical or religious exemption must receive a booster shot by Jan. 20, or within 30 days of becoming eligible for a booster.
December 30 original text:
On-campus residents will be required to show proof of having received a booster vaccine before returning to Binghamton University in January.
The news was announced by BU President Harvey Stenger in a Dec. 29 B-Line News Addition. According to the statement, all on-campus students who do not have a previous medical or religious exemption must be vaccinated by Jan. 20, or within 30 days of becoming eligible for a booster if they are not yet eligible.
In the statement, Stenger cites new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines as the reason for the decision, and states off-campus students are not required to provide proof of booster vaccination.
“While not mandated at this time, we strongly encourage off-campus students to obtain a booster shot as soon as they are eligible,” Stenger wrote. “Doing so will not only better protect the campus community, but will ensure you remain ‘fully vaccinated’ if, as anticipated, the definition of full vaccination is extended to include boosters.”
According to a Dec. 16 CDC media statement cited in the B-Line, there is now a “clinical preference” for individuals to receive an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In April of 2020, BU offered an on-campus Johnson & Johnson vaccination site for one week
In a Nov. 29 media statement, the CDC released updated guidelines on who should receive a booster.
“Today, CDC is strengthening its recommendation on booster doses for individuals who are 18 years and older,” the statement read. “Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or two months after their initial [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine.”
The B-Line News Addition comes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant. Cases are at an all-time high in New York state, with a seven-day average of 37,192 new cases. In Broome County, the seven-day average is currently at 176 new cases as of Dec. 30.
According to the B-line News Addition, on-campus students with no medical or religious exemptions who do not receive their booster dose before Jan. 20 or within 30 days of becoming eligible will have their housing rescinded for the spring 2022 semester.
Ryan Yarosh, senior director of media and public relations, explained the intent behind the decision.
“Our priority is and will remain the safety and health of our campus community,” Yarosh wrote.
“We are taking these additional steps to keep everyone safe.”
On-campus students should submit proof of having received a booster vaccine through the Decker Student Health Services Center Patient Portal before Jan. 20.