Alumni Center hosts COVID-19 booster shot event to ‘optimize’ protection against Omicron variant


Teresa Aguilera, Illustrator

This illustration shows a gloved hand holding a syringe to represent the COVID-19 booster shots. The Oregon State University Alumni Center will hold a walk-in booster shot clinic with hopes to vaccinate at least 2000 people from student and community populations.

Katterlea MacGregor, News Contributor

The Oregon State University Alumni Center will host a COVID-19 booster shot clinic for students and local community members on Dec. 15 and 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

OSU, Benton County and Samaritan Health Services have teamed up to provide free COVID-19 booster shots to anyone above the age of 16. 

The booster clinic will be hosted at the OSU Alumni Center, which is located across from Reser Stadium where parking will be available. Community members who attend the event are encouraged to complete the necessary paperwork and bring printed copies with them to the clinic, though the forms will also be available during the event at the Alumni Center.

According to Benton County’s event press release, the COVID-19 vaccine is free and neither identification nor insurance is needed to receive it. Residence in Oregon is also not required but community members are asked to bring their vaccine card or other record of previous COVID-19 vaccination to the booster clinic.

John Valva, executive director of the OSU Alumni Association, said it’s important for people to know they have somewhere that they can access booster shots. 

“We are honored and thrilled to offer the Alumni Center as a venue for the community,” he said.

OSU, SHS and Benton County have been known to work together in response to COVID-19 vaccines. From January 2021 to May 2021, nearly 75,000 COVID-19 vaccines were administered to the Corvallis community.

According to April Holland, the Benton County public health administrator, the goal is to offer 1,000 or more boosters each day during the clinic. Both the Pfizer and Moderna boosters will be available. 

Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine initially are eligible to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna booster. 

The Center for Disease Control recommends a booster dose six months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

According to Holland, there are two reasons people should receive a COVID-19 booster dose. First, though vaccination continues to prevent severe disease, COVID-19 vaccines can become less effective over time. Second, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant may be able to evade immune responses.

“Public health leaders, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, encourage a booster dose to optimize an individual’s protection against the variant,” Holland said.

As of Dec. 13, there have been three cases of the Omicron variant found in Oregon, two in Washington County and one in Multnomah County. All three cases involve people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Many students have already returned home for winter break and will be unable to attend the clinic,  but no dates for further COVID-19 booster shot events at OSU have been announced. 

According to Adam Drey, deputy COVID-19 response coordinator at OSU, the university recognizes that booster shots can protect students against the virus and variants. 

 “OSU encourages students to get a COVID-19 booster shot over winter break or at Corvallis-area clinics or pharmacies offering booster shots when they return for winter term,” Drey said. 

Local clinics and pharmacies, such as Fred Meyer, Safeway and Rite Aid, as well as primary care are also options for students looking for COVID-19 booster shots.

According to Holland, Benton County will continue to evaluate data and respond to the pandemic accordingly. Holland said many providers and pharmacies are experiencing high demand for boosters. 

“Due to the current demand for booster doses, we want to create a space for the community at large and relieve some of the current strain on providers and pharmacies,” said Holland. 

Mass vaccination events include members of the community who normally don’t have access to a pharmacy or primary care. 

“Benton County’s primary focus is to ensure access and remove barriers for community members who have been traditionally systematically excluded and underserved,” Holland said.

Further information about this event can be found through the Benton County COVID-19 website.

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