May 20, 2022

Faculty and Staff,

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a booster dose the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11, and we encourage parents at Duke to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician to get the vaccine to help protect them and others from the spread of COVID.

While hospitalizations remain low, cases are continuing a steady increase in our area and on our campus, including some who have now tested positive on multiple occasions. So, if you haven’t already, get your required booster shot once eligible or a second booster, if you meet the criteria. Breakthrough infections are less likely, and the possibility of developing severe illness requiring hospitalization is significantly lower if an individual is fully vaccinated and boosted. Details regarding appointments and walk-in clinics are available on the COVID Vaccinewebsite. If you have questions about if and when you should get a booster, you can find answers in a recent Q&A on Duke Today.

Limited surveillance testing is still being offered on campus for asymptomatic students, faculty and staff. Please note that testing will be closed on Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. Anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms should not participate in surveillance testing but should instead call the COVID Hotline (919-385-0429 option 1 for employees) to be tested and receive support and guidance, as appropriate.

The federal government has also now made additional home test kits available. Individuals can easily request up to 8 test kits per household. Any faculty or staff member who tests positive from an outside test should still call the COVID Hotline (919-385-0429 option 1 for employees) to report it to Employee Occupational Health and Wellness.

As we manage through this increase in cases, we encourage people to wear masks when gathering with people indoors to help prevent the spread of the virus. Masking remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others, and it is still required on all campus buses/vans, in classrooms, and in clinical settings.

Thank you, and have a safe and enjoyable summer.

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 Emeritus Duke Health

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

Paul Grantham,
Assistant Vice President of Communication Services, Deputy Emergency Coordinator

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