We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving break with family and friends. Unfortunately, the pandemic did not take a break, and we find ourselves now confronted with news of the omicron variant that appears to now be spreading throughout other regions of the world.

While scientists are still studying and assessing the risks and potential impact of this variant, the best precaution you can take now is to get your booster shot before the upcoming holidays, when more travel and indoor gatherings are expected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommend that all adults should receive the booster shot after six months of receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Duke has special clinics for faculty and staff, and we encourage you to do so at your earliest opportunity. Visit the Duke COVID Vaccine website to make an appointment or find a walk-in clinic.

The CDC also said that individuals can choose any of the three boosters now authorized regardless of their original shot. Duke medical experts suggest that anyone who received the J&J vaccine preferentially get a booster shot of either Pfizer or Moderna, which have been proven highly effective in preventing infection and severe illness. 

If you have already received your booster shot from an outside provider (any location, including Duke Health, not listed on the Duke COVID Vaccine website), please submit documentation of your additional dose through VaxTrax online form so we can update your records accordingly.

While the booster shot is not yet a condition of employment for Duke University or Duke University Health System at this time, we encourage all eligible individuals to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to protect you and others from potential infection during the winter months when people are expected to gather indoors more frequently. 

Thank you for your efforts to keep the Duke community safe during this new phase of the pandemic. Please continue wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and maintaining social distance.  

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration, Duke University

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Assistant Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health

Gail Shulby, RN, MA, CPP
Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President, Duke Health

Cameron R. Wolfe, MBBS (Hons), MPH, FIDSA
Associate Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Duke Health

Co-Leaders of the COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Work Group