Student rates

Harvey Mudd announces requirement for spring booster amid rising cases

Following an increase in cases in Harvey Mudd and LA County, Mudd students are to receive the updated reminder. (Natalie Bauer • Student Life)

Harvey Mudd College will require all students to receive the last bivalent COVID-19 booster dose before returning to campus for the spring 2023 semester, Dean of Students Marco Antonio Valenzuela told students in an email Thursday. .

Valenzuela initially announced the recall requirement via email last Saturday, also noting that the number of isolated students at Harvey Mudd rose to eight in the past week. Harvey Mudd experienced a previous wave earlier this semester, when cases jumped to 24but the numbers remained low until last week.

In her Nov. 3 follow-up email, Valenzuela said Mudders will need to upload her COVID-19 vaccination record to Student Health Services by Jan. 9 or before returning to campus after summer break. winter, whichever comes first.

“We hope this flexible schedule will allow you to receive the booster while staying on campus this semester, or at home during the break,” Valenzuela told students.

To receive reminders, Valenzuela referred students to SHS, which offers Pfizer and Moderna Booster injections on appointment. Harvey Mudd will also host a bivalent booster clinic dedicated to SHS where students can get vaccinated, with more details to come soon, Valenzuela said.

No other 5Cs have yet announced their intention to require a COVID-19 bivalent booster. SHS did not respond to TSL’s query about the status of other colleges on recall requirements, instead referring TSL to each institution’s policy page for COVID-19 updates.

Last winter, all 5C students required receive a COVID-19 booster shot for the spring semester of 2022 due to the increase in cases nationwide. Pomona was the first college to announce the requirement on Dec. 13, and other colleges followed with similar announcements soon after.

The new bivalent booster targets the original strain as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. At the state and national level, the number of people who have received this round of booster is small. About 11.4% of eligible Californianss received the updated bivalent booster. Nationally, this figure is 7.3% among eligible beneficiaries.

However, BQ 1 and BQ 1.1 – subvariants from BA.5 – are increasing nationwide, including 14.0% and 13.1 percent of cases in the week of October 23, respectively. The rise was almost double the rates from the previous week in mid-October, according to CDC data.

Los Angeles County’s case rate showed weekly increases after mid-October, following a relatively flat rate through the summer, according to the LA Times.

Although cases remain at low levels, for the seven-day period that ended Monday, LA County averaged 979 cases per day, an increase of 7% compared to the previous week.

Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, noted that “emerging variants and subvariants of the virus have played a significant role in driving past surges,” the LA Times reported in a November 1 article.

“We have to prepare for the possibility of another winter wave. We want to be realistic because with every surge of COVID comes additional risk,” Ferrer said. “However, we are also optimistic because we have powerful tools, including therapeutic agents and the new bivalent boosters, that can lessen the impact.”