Update about Omicron and Recommended Booster Shots

December 1, 2021

Update about Omicron and Recommended Booster Shots

Columbia is monitoring the latest news about the new Omicron variant. In light of the evolving nature of the new variant, it is important for students to keep abreast of any impact on travel to their host country and to read all communications from Columbia and their programs to understand any program modifications and/or updated policies and recommendations. Students are also recommended to continue using the protective tools that we have including the following:

COVID-19 Vaccination:

All students are already required to be vaccinated before studying abroad on a Columbia Led or Columbia Approved program. More information about updating your vaccination status through Columbia Health is forthcoming.

COVID-19 Booster Shot:

The FDA and CDC recently supported expanding the eligibility for a single booster dose of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to all individuals 18 years of age and older.

  • Students who got the Pfizer or Moderna immunizations are eligible for a booster six months after their second shot.

  • Students who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a booster two months after their first shot.

Boosters are strongly recommended for all students who plan to study abroad. Some European countries, such as Italy and France, are beginning to provide guidance about whether students are considered fully vaccinated if too much time has passed since the last shot. It is anticipated that other countries will begin to provide specific guidance. Not having a valid digital COVID vaccination certificate could potentially impact entry to classrooms, cafeterias, and dormitories in the host country as well as other public spaces such as museums, libraries, restaurants/cafes, and gyms. Whether students will have access to booster shots while abroad will depend on the host country’s local policies and guidance at that time. In order to be in a position to fully explore the host country, students are recommended to take the next steps:

  • Check their vaccination card to confirm the date of their second/final dose.

  • Use vaccinefinder.org to find a location to obtain a booster near you.

  • Make an appointment to get the booster prior to departure.

If you are a Columbia student: please note that Columbia Health will be providing a limited number of Pfizer and J&J booster shots at the Lerner Hall Vaccine site for eligible Morningside students. Students seeking Moderna boosters can check the above websites for availability. You may make a booster vaccine appointment through the Columbia Health Patient Portal. Additional guidance for Columbia students can be found on the University COVID-19 website.

While Columbia does not currently require booster doses, if you have received one, please upload your documentation. Please use only Part Two in the instructions.

If you are not a Columbia student: please check with your home school about the availability of booster shots on your campus.