COVID-19 Update: Holiday Travel & Booster Vaccination Clarification
September 3, 2021
To the Saint Louis University community,
With a week and a half of the fall semester behind us, we know many of you are eager for the long Labor Day weekend to be with family and friends, and to take in our city. Or maybe to escape the city.
With that we offer some cautions.
Our exhaustion with this seemingly never-ending pandemic means many of us will be tempted to drop our guard this weekend. Please, we can’t. We cannot risk experiencing the outbreaks that have disrupted other colleges and universities already this semester.
We have to be vigilant, especially with face mask use while indoors, regardless of your vaccination status.
Labor Day parties and gatherings are safest when they are held outdoors or if the event involves only individuals who are fully vaccinated. If you are attending an indoor gathering this weekend and the vaccination status of other attendees is unknown, it is safest for everyone to wear their face mask.
Travel over the holiday weekend
There are no travel restrictions for community members who are fully vaccinated.
But if you are not fully vaccinated or if you have obtained a vaccine exemption, we request that you don’t travel outside the region this holiday weekend. Last year, we found that many students became exposed and infected after traveling to spend time with unvaccinated friends and family.
Infection rates are still high as the Delta variant has become the main COVID-19 strain in the US. Unvaccinated individuals are at very high risk of illness and are at much higher risk of severe illness compared to those who are vaccinated. In addition, the vast majority of transmission occurs among unvaccinated people. Travel can increase your risk of exposure, especially if you engage in indoor holiday gatherings where individuals are unmasked.
For all SLU community members, regardless of vaccination status, please make safe choices this holiday weekend.
Booster vaccine availability next week
In my last communication, I described the new CDC guidelines for booster vaccines for those who are immunocompromised.
Students, staff and faculty who are immunocompromised are now eligible to receive a booster dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The CDC definitions of immunocompromised individuals eligible for a booster dose can be found here.
SLU will offer the booster doses at our Simon Rec clinics starting next week.
In addition, Missouri’s vaccine navigator site allows you to search by zip code and vaccine brand to find an appointment.
As always, thank you for your continued commitment to protecting our public health at SLU.
Stay safe and be well,
Terri Rebmann, Ph.D., RN, CIC, FAPIC
Special Assistant to the President
Director, Institute for Biosecurity
Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
College for Public Health and Social Justice