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Rice to provide vaccine clinic for community members on Dec. 3

Katherine Hui / Thresher

By Paulina Leszczuk     11/16/21 11:07pm

Rice will be providing one final vaccine clinic on Dec. 3, partnering with the Houston Health Department to have 400 vaccine slots available for the Rice community. Three previous clinics were held on Nov. 4, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12.

Faculty, students and staff members who have already received Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson will have the option to mix and match options, regardless of which one they initially obtained. 

Jerusha Kasch, the director of Institutional Crisis Management, said that vaccination data is uploaded into ImmTrac2, the Texas Immunization Registry. Students, faculty and staff  are also requested to modify the vaccine survey form in Veoci when they get the booster shot. 

However, Kasch said obtaining a booster will not necessarily change requirements for testing. 

“Typically our testing requirements depend directly on the infections rates for our campus and our city,” Kasch said. “If they remain low, yes, I expect you could see a change in testing requirements as we move into spring semester.”

The Crisis Management Team also mentioned conflicting vaccine requirements in the email sent on Nov. 8, citing that the federal government and the State of Texas issued conflicting stipulations about vaccine mandates, and the Rice administration is currently consulting with the General Counsel on how to navigate this situation. 

Marina Klein, a McMurtry College freshman, said she is planning to obtain the booster shot as soon as possible. 

“Knowing that my two shots aren’t enough is convincing enough for me,” Klein said. “It’s definitely important so that we don’t have such a high risk of spreading illness to each other, and we can have more personal peace of mind that we’re not going to get sick so easily.”

Sid Richardson College freshman Jenny Liu said she plans to get the booster shot this week.

“I want to be done with my work before that, because I’ve heard people had a pretty strong reaction to their booster shots, so I’ll just wait until I have less work to get it,” Liu said. “Most of my friends either have gotten the booster shot or they’re intending to do so before going home.” 

Angela Torres, a sophomore from Wiess College, said she views obtaining the booster shot of the vaccine as her responsibility as a citizen. 

“I think, most importantly, it would be really important for Rice students to get the booster shot because we live in a high-risk area and I feel like as Rice students we have the responsibility to protect the community, not only those outside of Rice campus but our faculty and our staff who may have conditions we don’t know about or [who] go home to their families,” Torres said. 

Jackie Wu, a sophomore at Hanszen College, received her booster shot on Nov. 5 in an on-campus clinic after deciding to get it at the last minute. 

“At first I thought that booster shots were available only for immunocompromised or elderly people. Then I saw my friends getting booster shots, which is why I got it too,” Wu said. “It’s not like you’re taking away that booster shot from someone else, because they are not that limited this time, and by getting a booster shot you’re helping everyone else.” 

Brown College sophomore Heather Szczesniak said she experienced a somewhat long wait while waiting to receive the vaccine on Nov. 12.

“Definitely Pfizer was going faster than Moderna, so we were waiting a little longer, but in general it was a pretty good process,” Szczesniak said.

Klein said she is comfortable with how students are taking COVID-related precautions.

“People are a lot more relaxed about wearing a mask, which I think is good within a residential college, considering that those are the same people seeing each other over and over again, so there’s not much transfer to spread,” Klein said. “But I also think that wearing a mask is very harmless and also very effective, so we shouldn’t be in such a big hurry to get rid of that requirement either.” 

Bikrant Das Sharma, a Brown sophomore who received his booster shot on Nov. 12, said he thinks Rice students in general tend to follow most of the policies.

“I would say since the restrictions are looser this year, we respect them more, definitely more than last year when we had a lot of restrictions and that was tough for college students to follow.” Sharma said. “Obviously here and there people don’t follow them as much, but overall I think everyone is doing a great job following the rules.” 

According to their website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confident in the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are working well in preventing severe cases of the illness, hospitalization and death, and it recommends obtaining the booster shot of the vaccine. 

Public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease, according to the CDC.

Individuals interested in getting vaccinated at the final clinic on Dec. 3 can register for the clinic appointment through the Houston Health Department Patient Portal. Since this is the last on-campus clinic, no first doses will be available, according to the COVID-19 response weekly update from Nov. 8.

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