GW announces booster shot requirement as community braces for Omicron variant

Media Credit: File Photo by Grace Hromin | Senior Photo Editor

Officials said GW community members who have medical or religious reasons exempting them from GW’s vaccine requirement do not have to abide by the booster mandate. 

Students, faculty and staff will be required to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by February, officials announced on Monday.

Officials said in an email that all GW community members must upload documentation of their booster shot to GW’s medical portal by Feb. 1, exactly six months after community members were required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The requirement came as officials also announced the first cases of the Omicron variant in the GW community.

“​​​​The booster requirement aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation and is part of our ongoing efforts to keep the GW community healthy and safe amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the email reads.

Officials said students who do not receive the booster before Feb. 1 will have to get tested for COVID-19 weekly and complete a questionnaire monitoring their daily symptoms. Students who do not receive a booster shot by March 15 will not be allowed to register for summer or fall classes, according to the email.

Faculty and staff who choose not to get the booster by March 15 will receive a warning from officials who may proceed with “subsequent employment actions.”

Officials said GW community members who have medical or religious reasons exempting them from GW’s vaccine requirement do not have to abide by the booster mandate.

The announcement comes after the D.C. Department of Health confirmed the first four Omicron cases in the District on Sunday, Maryland officials detected three Omicron cases earlier this month and Virginia announced its first case last week.

Earlier this month, officials encouraged students to receive booster shots, saying it was the “best way” to stay protected from COVID-19 mutations. The Medical Faculty Associates is offering walk-in appointments at 949 23rd St. NW, across from the GW Hospital between 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on all weekdays.

A growing number of students said prior to the announcement that they got their booster shot or planned to schedule an appointment in the near future to stay safe as they return home for winter break.

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