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Friday, December 09, 2022 — Houston, TX

Rice hosts COVID booster clinic for campus community

Hai Van Hoang / Thresher

By Hajera Naveed     10/25/22 10:23pm

Rice partnered with the Houston Health Department to provide the third bivalent booster vaccine against COVID-19 to the Rice community. The two past clinics, held on Oct. 11 and 18, vaccinated a total 493 individuals, according to Director of Institutional Crisis Management Jerusha Kasch. The final clinic will take place on Oct. 27.

The decision to host clinics was made after the FDA approved the use of bivalent booster doses for the age range that included Rice’s primary student population in September. This is the second COVID-19 booster for which Rice has held clinics on campus. However, unlike the previous booster clinic held in early 2022, this shot is not required.

The clinics were held in an effort to encourage booster vaccinations among individuals at Rice and provide a convenient location to receive it, Kasch said.

“We feel that the high vaccination rate of our campus has played a big role in keeping our campus safe, and vaccine clinics on campus are convenient for our students and employees,” Kasch said.

According to the FDA, the bivalent booster vaccine provides protection against both the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and a lineage of the omicron variant. Individuals are eligible for this vaccine if they previously received all primary series doses and haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months.

Fatima Akilo, a Sid Richardson College junior, said she wanted to get the booster as an added measure of protection against COVID-19. She said that while she has gotten all of her COVID-19 vaccines at Rice, she felt this experience was different. 

“I think I spent a total of two hours in line,” Akilo said. “I was on campus at 8 a.m, so it was worse, [but] I don’t think I had to wait as long in line the other three times.”

Staff member Caitlin Lindsay said she received her booster shot from a clinic held at Rice in order to protect herself and others. She also said it was convenient that the clinic was held in the same building she worked in, the Rice Memorial Center.

“I have received a booster at Rice before,” Lindsay said. “This time did take a little longer, because we weren’t able to sign up for an appointment time, and I wish I could have filled out the paperwork in advance, but from my understanding, that was more so a decision from the vaccine provider.” 

Ashley Wu, a Wiess College senior, said she had an overall positive experience with the booster clinic, specifically highlighting its organization and the friendliness of those administering the shots.

“I think this [clinic] was very well organized,” Wu said. “They were able to … keep the line moving, and they were very friendly and clear. If I had questions, the people administering the shot were really good at answering whatever questions I had.”

Brown College senior Bria Weisz said that she is grateful that the option to get vaccinated on campus remains, especially for students without cars.

“I specifically got my COVID booster at the on-campus vaccine clinic, because I don’t have a car [and] getting off campus is kind of difficult for me,” Weisz said. “Even though my experience wasn’t ideal getting the booster, I am still really happy that I was able to.”

Kasch said that she believes keeping up to date with vaccines is a way to practice Rice’s culture of care, and she strongly recommends individuals to get boosted. 

“We’ve reached a different stage of COVID-19, and as a university, we’ve shifted our approach toward focusing on personal responsibility regarding health and safety decisions,” Kasch said.

The last booster clinic will be held this Thursday Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the RMC Grand Hall. 

More from The Rice Thresher

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Campus responds to Houston’s city-wide boil water notice

Due to a power outage at the East Water Purification Plant on Nov. 27 that led to water pressure dropping, Houston’s main water system was under a boil water notice beginning late Sunday until Tuesday morning. The Rice crisis management team sent out an email alert saying that all buildings east of Alumni Drive, including all of the residential colleges and the Rice Memorial Center, are serviced by the campus well and were not affected by the boil water requirement. However, buildings west of Alumni Drive, such as the Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center, were impacted.


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