More than 14,000 Cal Poly students have uploaded their COVID-19 booster vaccination records as the university works to update its COVID-19 dashboard to reflect its new definition of fully vaccinated individuals.
The California State University’s COVID-19 policy, which was last revised on Jan. 19, defines “fully vaccinated” as having completed a primary vaccine series and booster dose. This means students who received the initial vaccine(s) but not the booster are no longer considered fully vaccinated.
However, students who have finished their initial vaccine series but are not yet eligible to receive their booster are still considered fully vaccinated under the CSU policy.
A person is eligible to receive a booster shot at least five months after completing the primary Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine series or at least two months after they received the primary Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to guidance from the CDC.
Students who are not fully vaccinated are required to participate in the university’s ongoing testing program until they receive all doses, including the booster.
As of Tuesday morning, 14,173 students have uploaded their booster information and 933 students requested a medical or religious exemption, according to university spokesperson Matt Lazier.
Lazier wrote in an email to Mustang News that he would not be able to disclose when students requested exemptions because the number is “fluid.” For example, a student could have requested a vaccine exemption when the mandate took effect in the fall and then later decided to get the vaccine.
Additionally, 159 Cal Poly employees have requested an exemption so far, Lazier wrote. Employees are not yet required to provide their booster information, so the number of boosted employees is unknown.
The deadline for students to upload their COVID-19 booster information was initially set for Thursday, Jan. 20. However, Cal Poly officials changed the deadline, so students needed to have received — not uploaded — their booster shot by Jan. 20 and must have uploaded their booster record by Monday, Jan. 24.
“The gap between the deadline for students and the date they could begin uploading their information simply had to do with when the system was ready to begin accepting booster uploads,” Lazier wrote in the email.
The university’s COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated yet to reflect the number of fully vaccinated students under this new definition, according to Lazier.
“We are discussing how we might be able to include that information,” Lazier wrote.
Environmental earth and soil sciences sophomore Daniel Puga said he thinks the university announced the deadline for the booster record on too short of notice.
“I feel like, if the university let us know a lot sooner, it wouldn’t have been so overwhelming for students and vaccine clinics in the area,” Puga said.
Public health sophomore Blair Cabunoc said he still feels concerned that some students are not yet fully vaccinated.
“I wish Cal Poly would at least make KN95s and N95s more accessible to students,” Cabunoc said. “I would feel more at ease.”
To help students complete the vaccination requirement, the university will offer booster and vaccination clinics on weekdays in the main gym lobby of the Recreation Center through Feb. 18.
Prior to the booster deadline, Cal Poly was only hosting Rite Aid booster and vaccine clinics on some Fridays and not throughout the week. Long lines of students would wrap around the Recreation Center for these walk-in-only clinics due to the high demand and tight deadline to upload booster information.
Students can find more information on COVID-19 vaccination clinics on and off campus here.