UCSB Mandates COVID-19 Booster

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Illustrated by Bridget Rios

Troy A. Sambajon

National Beat Reporter

By Jan. 31, all UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) students must receive their COVID-19 booster dose, in accordance with the COVID-19 Response Team’s guidelines for the safe return to instruction for the winter quarter.

In a Dec. 27, 2021 message to students, UCSB’s COVID-19 Response Team described the logistics related to testing, vaccination, and masking for winter quarter instruction. Here are the major takeaways: 

  • All students who will be on campus during winter quarter are required to obtain a campus COVID-19 test at the beginning of the quarter.
  • Booster vaccinations must be completed by Jan. 31, 2022.
  • All indoor spaces on campus, including research spaces, remain subject to the masking requirement

In the message, the COVID-19 Response Team described their immediate goals to manage the return of students to campus and to increase testing capacity.

“​​Our immediate goals are to manage the return of students to campus and to ramp up our testing capacity. Our overarching goals are to continue to mitigate COVID-19 transmission, now in the setting of the [omicron] variant, and to do everything we can to ensure a resumption of in-person instruction as soon as possible.”

Booster doses are widely available at local pharmacies and medical clinics. Boosters will also be available in Isla Vista (I.V.) from the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health at Embarcadero Hall on weekdays from Jan. 10 until Jan. 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with appointments available through the MyTurn system.

Currently, 84 percent of the campus community is already eligible for a booster and will be tracked for compliance with the California state reporting system. The UC will continue to track eligibility for the remaining 16 percent.  

At this time, uploading proof of booster vaccination is not necessary since the UC is tracking vaccination status through the California state reporting system. For unvaccinated individuals, weekly testing is required. 

In a Dec. 15, 2021 message from UC President Michael V. Drake, President Drake encouraged all eligible community members to get their booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. While two doses of Pfizer and Moderna underperform against the omicron variant, laboratory studies have shown the booster to effectively neutralize the variant. 

“Vaccination, including boosters, is still our best line of defense,” said President Drake.

For the campus community, COVID-19 testing is available without charge. Appointments can be made at the Student Health Patient Portal to either test in-person, or to pick up a test kit then drop off a specimen.

For more information regarding this developing situation and updates on the UC’s evolving guidelines, visit UCSB’s online COVID-19 campus guidelines.