Mandating Vaccine Boosters for the Spring

December 10, 2021

Dear Members of the Boston University Community,

As I write, I know that everyone is sprinting toward the end of the semester, studying for final exams, finishing projects, and preparing for a well-deserved time with family and friends. We have had a successful semester; we reestablished our vibrant campus community, even with COVID-19 a continuing challenge. Your cooperation with our vaccination mandate and with other testing and masking protocols has been the key reason for our success. Thank you for keeping our community safe.

In a few weeks most of us will be preparing for a wonderful holiday season with our family and friends. I am sensitive to the reality that many of our students—both international and domestic—will not be able to travel home to their families and will spend Intersession on our campus. I hope each of us finds the fellowship and relaxation that lifts our spirits and prepares us for the New Year.

Many have asked what to expect when we return to campus in January, as there is growing concern about the impact of the Omicron variant of the virus. There are many unanswered questions about the transmissibility of this new variant, the effectiveness of vaccines in combatting this variant, and the severity of the illness caused by Omicron, if it is contracted. We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation—using our knowledge and experience with the Delta variant as a baseline—as new information becomes available. And we will adjust our planning as needed.

Our judgment—based on the most current information and the advice of health professionals—continues to be that the best defense is vaccination. After consultation with our medical experts, I feel it is important to take advantage of the increased protection offered by the vaccine boosters and simultaneously protecting ourselves from waning immunity.

We will require all members of our community—students, faculty, staff, and affiliates—who are eligible (six months past completing their initial Moderna or Pfizer vaccination; two months past the Johnson & Johnson vaccination) to demonstrate that you have had the booster shot by February 4 (or as soon as your eligibility allows). Once you have received a booster, please upload this information to the student or employee portals.

Chief Health Officer Dr. Judy Platt will write to you next week with more information and to explain changes in our public health protocols for the spring semester.

I appreciate your efforts to keep our community safe and your continued compliance with our expanded vaccination requirement. I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season.

Robert A. Brown signature
Robert A. Brown