COVID-19 booster shots available at Rite Aid on E. Third Street. Booster shots are being offered at various locations in the Bethlehem area. (Han Jiang/B&W Staff)

Lehigh’s COVID Response Team is deciding whether or not to mandate the booster


Lehigh announced that they anticipate requiring the COVID-19 booster vaccine for the spring semester. The final decision is pending a meeting of the COVID Response Team (CRT). Before finalizing, the CRT will be talking to people from other universities and medical experts and also looking at the CDC medical guidelines, Provost Nathan Urban said. 

Urban said they are hoping to have it figured out this week and have an email come out with a decision. 

Urban said the school is trying to avoid a situation similar to Cornell University. 

The Omicron variant was identified on Cornell’s campus, prompting the university to enter a “Alert Level Red,” and immediately go online on Dec. 14.

“It seems like boosters are one of the main tools to try and prevent something like that happening,” Urban said. 

Schools such as The University of Pennsylvania, Tulane University, Middlebury College and others, reinstated more stringent COVID-19 precautions at the end of their semesters.  

Some universities and colleges have already announced that they will be requiring students to get the COVID-19 booster shot. These include Princeton University, Bryn Mawr College, New York University and more. Additional schools are at the stage where they have announced they are considering requiring the booster. 

Similar to Lehigh’s requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine, the booster requirement would apply to students, faculty and staff. It would also have the same repercussions and exemptions for those who do not get the shot, Urban said. With the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, students who were not compliant with the policy were dropped from classes. Urban said this had to happen in a small number of cases in the fall semester. 

He said the school would continue to offer exemptions for those who previously had it for the vaccine.

Urban said the CRT is still looking at the timeline of when this requirement would be in effect.

“We need to both make the final decision and if the decision is to require it, then the questions around the timeline and process,” he said. “We want to make sure that we have a way of dealing with situations where some people might not yet be eligible because they only got their second dose less than six months ago, to make sure that we’re prepared for those kinds of cases.” 

Currently everyone 18 years or older who received their initial Pfizer or Moderna shots six or more months ago, or who received their Johnson & Johnson dose two or more months ago is eligible to receive the COVID-19 booster. 

“It’s a quickly changing situation, but we’re trying to do our best to keep ahead of it,” Urban said.

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  1. People who are fully vaccinated get and easily spread covid. According to a recent study in the Lancet, “fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can transmit infection…” Likewise, “People who get vaccine breakthrough infections can be contagious,” says the CDC. Therefore, vaccinated people Even more compelling, …“vaccinated individuals still have the potential to infect others. Worse, one CDC report shows that vaccinated people can still be superspreaders. If vaccinated people still get and spread covid with the same viral load as unvaccinated people then vaccinated people should be tested for covid in the same manner as unvaccinated people, correct? Correct. CDC also states, “vaccination is NOT sufficient to prevent transmission of covid virus.” If vaccination is not sufficient to prevent transmission of covid virus, then why are employees being fired for not being vaccinated? An irrational fear of covid doesn’t entitle a workplace to discriminate against persons based on vaccine status. Simply put, there are no compelling or extraordinary reasons to selectively discriminate against unvaccinated people when vaccinated people can still infect others, have similar viral load and be contagious. Therefore, given the absence of logical grounds to continue such discrimination employers should immediately cease and desist such discrimination. An unvaccinated person carries the same level of safety as a vaccinated person, given both can get and spread covid. A more rational, fair and least restrictive solution would be to provide rapid covid testing for all employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, provide free testing at stores, schools and hospitals and require all people to wear masks indoors until there’s ample evidence of herd immunity. The highly transmissible Omicron variant could help countries reach herd immunity as cases continue to rise, health experts say. More compelling, experts say Omnicrom is, “less severe than other variants” and “delta variant is the most common worldwide variant.” Thus, the Biden admins argument that Omicrom is a threat is a falsehood. Nobody wants to get covid. But it’s going to happen. Thus, it’s more important to take rational, reasonable steps and to put more effort into treating covid, not firing nurses, doctors, teachers, who don’t want to get a vaccine that the sciense itself says, “Is not sufficient to prevent transmission of covid.”

    Therefore, someone’s irrational, idiotic, absurd fear of covid does not rise to the level of allowing discrimination. People who are fully vaccinated that claim to be “afraid” of unvaccinated are not following the science. Science says fully vaccinated people can, do and are spreading covid. Finally,


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