January 31, 2022: Booster Vaccination Deadline Extended

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

We are writing today to provide an update on the deadline to upload booster dose documentation in order to comply with the University’s booster vaccination mandate.

The deadline which was previously January 31, 2022 has now been extended to February 28, 2022 for all eligible individuals (eligibility is based on date of last dose of primary vaccination). This extension is to take into account the fact that the peak of the Omicron surge in New York City was observed on January 3, 2022 and on January 15, 2022 for the U.S. overall. This extension allows for those who recently had COVID-19 to recover and complete the required isolation period prior to receiving their booster vaccination. Certain health care workers and students who work in NYP locations will be required to meet the earlier NY State booster mandate date of February 21, 2022. In addition, the health care workers in NYP locations are also required to get a flu vaccination by February 21st.

The University follows the CDC’s recommendations regarding the interval between an episode of COVID-19 infection and receipt of vaccine dose. The guidance states that people with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those who have COVID-19 infection without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. There is no indication for a longer delay. The only exception is for individuals who received monoclonal antibody COVID-19 treatment who are not eligible for vaccination until 90 days after the treatment. In the absence of any specific recommendation from CDC that treats booster vaccination differently from recommended timing post COVID-19 for primary vaccination, the criteria above will apply.

Since the University announced the booster mandate for all affiliates, there has been a growing body of research from around the world that supports the value of booster doses. This is due to the fact that protection from primary vaccination wanes over time and booster doses have been shown consistently to be necessary to decrease the risk of infection, and most importantly to decrease the risk of severe illness and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Additional evidence also shows that  getting vaccinated adds substantial protection, including for individuals who have had prior “natural” infection.

It is important to keep in mind that booster doses not only provide protection against new virus variants for the vaccinated individual, but also decrease circulating virus, thus protecting others in the community.

Please upload your booster vaccination documentation as soon as possible (and prior to the new deadlines of February 21 or 28, 2022). To upload proof of booster go to the Upload Your Vaccination Documentation website, or log into the ReopenCU app, scroll down to the vaccine section under My Checklist, and click on “faculty/staff.” Once you are on the document submission page, scroll down to the new Booster Information section. Students should upload their documentation through the student health portal.

Finally, thanks to all of you who have already uploaded your booster vaccination documentation.

Donna Lynne

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC

University COVID Director

Gerry Rosberg

Senior Executive Vice President