HW Community Health Office announces booster clinics


Nathalie Leung/Chronicle

Brock Getson ’24 prepares to get his booster shot on campus.

Natalie Cosgrove and Nathalie Leung

The HW Community Health Office (CHO) announced on-campus booster clinics for students available starting the week of Jan. 20. The school’s definition of “fully-vaccinated” now requires a vaccine booster shot.

The announcement followed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement on Jan. 3 , which expanded eligibility for Pfizer and BioNTech booster shots to children ages 12 to 15 years old. Children ages five to 11 years old with compromised immune systems are also eligible to receive booster shots.

In an interview with CNBC, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla emphasized the importance of the booster vaccine and how it is an essential step to achieving herd immunity as a community.

“The recent rise in COVID-19 cases is concerning to all and today’s decision by the FDA to further expand the Emergency Use Authorization of a booster dose of our vaccine is critical to help us ultimately defeat this pandemic,” Bourla said, “We continue to believe that broad use of boosters is essential to preserving a high level of protection against this disease and reducing the rate of hospitalizations.”

The school partnered with Elements Pharmacy to help distribute booster shots at the upper and lower campuses. Clinics at the Upper School took place on Jan. 18, and those at the Middle School ran from Jan. 19 through Jan. 20.

Brock Getson ’24 said although he was at first reserved about receiving the booster, he ultimately came to the conclusion that it was best for his community.

“Although I was a little nervous to get the booster because I’m afraid of needles, I knew that getting it would be the best for me and my community,” Getson said. “My experience was very quick and painless. I think the clinic was well organized and did a great job making me feel safe.”

Although cases are still high, there have been early signs showing that the upward surge of the omicron wave is slowing, according to the LA Times. Some of the most populous counties in California have seen significant decreases in the number of cases, including L.A. County, the Bay Area and the Central Valley. Despite these positive signs, health officials continue to advise people to get the booster and boost up herd immunity.

Ian Kim ’24 said he hopes receiving the booster is a new step in the direction of normalcy at school and in his community.

“Getting the booster made me feel a lot better about going out in public,” Kim said. “Statistically, it seems to help a lot, so I felt good getting it and didn’t hesitate. For me the side effects were mild. It seems like even with the booster we can’t completely get back to normal, but I think everyone getting the booster who can is a necessary first step.”

Ava Saferstein ’23 said with the rise of cases within the school community following winter break, she thinks it is important for people to get boosted so that in-person schooling can remain.

“I have been seeing a slight decrease in cases among my friends, but that does not mean it is less important to stay conscious of your actions,” Saferstein said. “We should all be wearing our masks, staying home with symptoms and most importantly getting boosted when we can.”