January 19, 2022: COVID Update

Dear Colleagues,

We hope that you had a safe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Cases remain high in NYC, but the 7-day percent positivity has decreased. As we wrote previously, based on what we are seeing locally as well as experience from outside of the United States, we are optimistic about these trends and we are starting to see improvements.

Majority of the hospitalizations we are seeing are among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals. The current vaccines are highly protective against severe illness and hospitalization. While we know that faculty and staff are vaccinated, please encourage your friends and family to get vaccinated and boosted, if they are eligible for a booster.

Data emerging from outside of the United States show that for fully vaccinated people, the effectiveness of protection from severe illness and hospitalization from Omicron was high but waned over time; importantly, this protection is increased for people who’ve had the booster shot. We are definitely still learning about the duration of protection of the booster dose.

Flu vaccination is now required for all faculty and staff in patient-facing roles, in addition to the covid booster. Influenza activity is elevated in NYC, for both influenza A and influenza B. People can get their flu shot through WHS through 2/11/22, at a pharmacy, or at their own doctor.

Booster deadlines:

Nonclinical personnel: Columbia University has mandated boosters for all faculty, staff, and students effective January 31, 2022.

Clinical personnel: As was noted in a recent email from the FPO, New York State is now requiring boosters for health care personnel who could potentially expose patients, residents, or other personnel to COVID-19 with a deadline of 1/26. Note that this is five days earlier than the deadline for nonclinical faculty, staff, and students at Columbia.

Please get your booster and click here to upload your booster documentation before the above deadlines.

Those who have had a previous infection still need to receive their booster by the deadlines above. People without a contraindication for vaccination can get vaccinated once they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms can be vaccinated once they have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation. 

51 W. 51st Street Booster Schedule — January

Booster Session Opening Schedule through Connect
Wednesday, January 19, 1pm–4:30pm 1/14 at 8am
Friday, January 21, 9am–12pm 1/14 at 8am
Friday, January 21, 1pm–4pm Employee Walk-Ins
Tueday, January 25, 1pm–4:30pm 1/21 at 8am
Wednesday, January 26, 1pm–4:30pm 1/21 at 8am
Friday, January 28, 9am–12pm 1/21 at 8am
Friday, January 28,  1pm–4pm Employee Walk-Ins

ColumbiaDoctors primary care patients may also get a booster during a regular primary care visit. It is also fine to get a booster at a pharmacy or other vaccine site.

New testing sites have been established at four MTA subway stations, including the 125th Street station (A, B, C, D lines). More information is available here.

Thank you and stay safe!  

Donna Lynne, DrPH

Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC

University COVID Director

Magda Sobieszczyk, MD, MPH

Chief of Infectious Diseases and Co-Chair of the CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Committee

Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH

Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health and Co-Chair of the CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Committee