February 23, 2022: Update on Booster Mandate
Dear Columbia Community:
We are writing today to provide a further update on our COVID-19 booster mandate. As has been true from the beginning of the pandemic, the University remains vigilant as new information becomes available on an almost daily basis.
As you are likely aware, New York State announced last Friday that it will not enforce the booster mandate for health care workers that was to go into effect on February 21, noting that it will reassess the situation in three months. The stated reason was a concern that enforcement of the mandate could worsen the current shortage of health care workers.
Under these circumstances, with health care workers no longer subject to immediate enforcement of the mandate, we have concluded that we should defer till the end of May 2022 the deadline for our own booster mandate to avoid inconsistent application of the booster mandate to different members of our community – health care workers and clinical students versus everyone else. During this deferral period, the exemption request process will be paused and will be re-activated four weeks prior to any new mandate deadline.
The rationale for our booster mandate remains as strong as ever. Evidence continues to accumulate that supports the value of mRNA booster vaccination. We urge you to get your booster dose as soon as possible, if eligible. Getting a booster dose offers protection against likely future variants and decreases risk of infection, thus, protecting others around you.
To date, compliance among faculty and staff with our booster mandate is already above 80%, and nearly that high for students.
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC
University COVID Director
Senior Executive Vice President