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Harvard to Offer Third Covid-19 Booster Shot as PCR Testing Program Ends

Harvard University Health Services will offer the Omicron Covid-19 boosters in conjunction with free flu vaccines this fall.
Harvard University Health Services will offer the Omicron Covid-19 boosters in conjunction with free flu vaccines this fall. By Angela Dela Cruz
By Lucas J. Walsh and Vivian Zhao, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard will begin offering Moderna’s new Omicron Covid-19 booster shot to affiliates later this month, the University announced Tuesday.

The booster shot will be required for all on-campus affiliates for the spring semester. The shot provides protection against the original strain of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant.

Harvard University Health Services will offer the boosters in conjunction with free flu vaccines this fall.

The announcement comes just days before the University will wind down its PCR testing program on Sept. 16, which allows on-campus affiliates to submit tests to a lab. Harvard College students will still be able to receive antigen Covid-19 tests from building managers in their houses.

Harvard has dropped nearly all Covid-19 restrictions on its campus, including mandatory testing and masking, which were in place last year. In an email announcing the change on Tuesday, HUHS Director Giang T. Nguyen said the school strongly encourages voluntary masking in order “to reduce the risk of transmission.”

“Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable for their personal masking decision in a mask-optional setting,” he wrote. “Be mindful that there are members of our community who must mask.”

Nguyen also provided updates on the school’s efforts to prevent the spread of monkeypox on campus. Just over 350 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Massachusetts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nguyen wrote Tuesday that affiliates who need a vaccine referral or an evaluation for suspected monkeypox infection or exposure can contact HUHS for further instruction.

Students who test positive for either Covid-19 or monkeypox are required to report it to HUHS and isolate in place.

—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at lucas.walsh@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Vivian Zhao can be reached at vivian.zhao@thecrimson.com

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