Updated Vaccination Requirement: COVID Booster


Oxy is updating its vaccine policy to require all students, staff and faculty who are eligible to receive COVID-19 booster shots to do so by January 18.

Dear Oxy Community,

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our top priority has been the health and safety of the Oxy community. Our culture of care, as expressed by everyone’s willingness to get vaccinated, wear masks and be tested regularly, has made it possible for us to return to in-person activities this fall. Now we are facing a new variant and potentially new challenges. As we have seen this week at Cornell and on several other campuses, Omicron is highly contagious—even among a highly vaccinated population. (It's worth noting that preliminary data indicates that Omicron symptoms tend to be less severe than those of previous variants.)

New guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the L.A. County Department of Public Health recommends that everyone over 18 get a booster shot to provide an important additional layer of protection against the virus. Consistent with that guidance, Oxy is updating its vaccine policy to require all students, staff and faculty who are eligible to receive COVID-19 booster shots to do so by January 18, the first day of spring semester classes.

We understand that sending a message like this just before the College shuts down for winter break is far from ideal, but we must adapt to the circumstances of the pandemic as they develop. We want to give everyone as much advance notice as possible, and encourage all students to get their booster now, before returning to campus. We will provide an update during the first week of January when College offices reopen that will provide additional details, including how and when to upload your booster records to Emmons Wellness Center.

Everyone who received an authorized mRNA vaccine—Pfizer or Moderna—can receive a booster shot six months after their second dose. Those who received the single-shot J&J vaccine can get the booster as early as 2 months after. Anyone who has already received an approved exemption from COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be exempt from this requirement. Those vaccinated with an FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine outside the United States should follow CDC guidance for booster doses.

Boosters are widely available at most pharmacies. To find a vaccine provider, please go to the vaccination finder https://myturn.ca.gov/. Please remember to bring your vaccination card to your appointment.  In early January, we will inform the community as to whether boosters will be available at Oxy. Until then, please utilize a provider near you. Community members are encouraged to submit any comments or questions to oxy@oxy.edu, an inbox staffed by the Marketing & Communications team.

Marty Sharkey & James Uhrich (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