Omicron Variant and the Importance of Booster Shots


In line with the most recent CDC recommendations, we want to urge all members of the Oxy community to get a booster shot, if you haven’t already.

Oxy Community,

As you know, the new COVID-19 variant Omicron is in the news, having been named a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization. At this point little hard data is available on Omicron; it will take weeks before scientists have a clearer idea of what its impact may be. The first confirmed case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the U.S. was reported earlier today in San Francisco. 

While we await further data, here at Oxy we will continue to follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. We also continue to work closely with Dr. Kimberly Shriner ‘80, medical director of infection prevention and control at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, and Oxy’s special adviser on COVID-19 issues.

In line with the most recent CDC recommendations, we want to urge all members of the Oxy community to get a booster shot, if you haven’t already. Recommendations indicate you should get the booster if it has been six months since your second Moderna or Pfizer shot or two months after your single J&J shot. County officials have emphasized that being vaccinated and getting a booster shot is the best strategy for dealing with Omicron at this point. At this time, Oxy is not able to provide boosters on-campus; students may find it easier to get a booster shot while at home during winter break. Emmons is not currently collecting booster shot records, but please be sure to keep yours on hand should that become necessary.

As it has throughout the pandemic, the Covid Operations Group is carefully monitoring the latest developments. The health and safety measures that L.A. County has in place (including the mandate to wear masks while indoors) are already among the country’s most stringent; county health officials said yesterday they see no need to alter them based on current conditions. These measures, combined with our 99%+ vaccination and the Oxy’s community’s remarkable willingness to look out for each other, put us in a good position to deal with future challenges.

After almost two years of coping with pandemic conditions, we know everyone is exhausted and looking forward to winter break. We want to urge everyone not to let down their guard after the semester ends and to continue to follow health and safety guidance over the break. Thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and our community.

We will, of course, continue to keep you informed of the latest developments and their potential impact on Oxy. Community members are encouraged to submit any comments or questions to oxy@oxy.edu, an inbox staffed by the Marketing & Communications team. In the meantime, we wish everyone good luck with finals and a restful and restorative winter break.

Marty & James (COG co-chairs)

 COVID Operations Group (COG) 

Harry J. Elam, Jr., President

Sharla Fett, Faculty Council President, Professor of American History

Rob Flot, Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students

Amos Himmelstein, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Nora Kahn, General Counsel

Marty Sharkey, Vice President of Communications & Institutional Initiatives

Wendy Sternberg, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

James Uhrich, Vice President for Information Technology Services & Chief Information Officer