Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot When Eligible

Date Published: October 27, 2021

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,

I’m writing to share guidance on COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently authorized and recommended booster shots for the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines for certain populations. The FDA and CDC also authorized and supported the mixing and matching of vaccines for booster doses, so that individuals may choose to receive a different vaccine for their booster dose than the one they received for their initial vaccination. Please review the vaccine-specific information below and get your booster shot when you become eligible.

If you received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are considered fully vaccinated and in compliance with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The FDA and CDC have authorized and recommended a booster dose for all recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months after receiving the first dose. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as your initial dose, you may receive the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as your second dose.

Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccines

The FDA and CDC have authorized and recommended a booster dose for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for certain populations. Individuals in the following groups who received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are eligible for a booster shot six months after their initial series:

Booster vaccination for individuals who received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines is strongly recommended for older people and those who are immunocompromised. There is also accumulating evidence that receiving a booster shot offers additional protection for everyone, particularly for those working or living in settings that confer a high risk of transmission of the virus (e.g., healthcare and other frontline workers and individuals living in residential settings, such as university residence halls).

If you are eligible based on the criteria above, we strongly encourage you to get your booster shot at your local pharmacy, community clinic or doctor’s office. Pharmacies near our campuses currently have COVID-19 vaccination appointments available. Please visit Vaccines.gov to find the closest vaccination site to you. You can receive a booster shot without a prescription and at no charge to you after you self-attest that you fall under one of the above-mentioned categories. Given the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Georgetown is not administering vaccines on campus at this time. While we hope to offer an on-campus booster shot clinic in November and will provide more details if we’re able to, we encourage you to get your booster shot as soon as you are eligible.

As a reminder, staff may use COVID-19 PTO for their booster shot appointment and to recover from any short-term side effects of the vaccine. If a staff member has already used all of their COVID-19 PTO, they may request to use donated PTO by completing a time off request in GMS through the Request Donated PTO time off plan.

If you receive a booster dose, please upload documentation of this dose via the GU360 mobile app or GU360 website

We are monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization about booster shots for other vaccines, including AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD, and others, and will share information as it becomes available. If you received the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccine, we recommend that you receive additional shots of an FDA-approved or authorized vaccine.

If you have any questions about getting a booster shot, please contact the University’s Care Navigator team at covidcarenavigator@georgetown.edu.

To date, COVID-19 transmission rates on our campuses have been low. I’m grateful to everyone who has consistently followed the University’s public health protocols, including our vaccination requirement. Our very high vaccination rates, along with indoor mask wearing, are helping keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, the pandemic is not yet over, and we must continue to practice all public health measures in order to protect one another, including wearing a mask indoors and getting a booster shot when you’re eligible. 

Sincerely,

Ranit Mishori, M.D., MHS, FAAFP
Professor of Family Medicine, Vice President and Chief Public Health Officer