University of Michigan officials plan to offer the updated COVID-19 vaccine at as many Ann Arbor campus vaccination clinics as possible as the vaccine becomes available.
Supplies of the updated COVID vaccine currently are limited. One U-M clinic is scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 26 in the East Hall South Atrium, with more expected in October. The clinic schedule will be updated regularly as the COVID vaccine supply increases.
Meanwhile, the federal government has resumed a program that offers four free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to every U.S. household.
The updated COVID vaccine, which more closely targets recently circulating strains, was approved earlier this month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U-M clinics, which are drop-in only, also offer the seasonal influenza vaccine, which visitors may get with or without a COVID vaccine. There is no out-of-pocket fee for university employees and retirees, spouses or other qualified adults who present their U-M health insurance card.
Public health experts note that it is safe to receive flu and COVID vaccines at the same time. However, if someone recently tested positive for COVID, the CDC advises they should wait to receive any vaccinations, including COVID or flu, until symptoms have resolved and their isolation has ended. Depending upon the individual risk, they should consider waiting up to three months to receive the new COVID vaccine.
The clinics are sponsored by UHS and MHealthy. Clinic attendees should bring their insurance cards and wear appropriate clothing to receive shots in their upper arms. Those unable to attend the drop-in clinics may receive vaccinations from their primary-care physicians or most retail pharmacies. Students can also make appointments at UHS.
Michigan Medicine employees can obtain a free flu vaccine at any of the drop-in Occupational Health Services clinics. As in recent years, Michigan Medicine employees are required to be in compliance with the Michigan Medicine Mandatory Influenza Vaccination Policy by Dec. 1.
Free rapid antigen tests, masks
The Biden administration recently announced every U.S. household can again order four free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests by visiting covid.gov/tests. Rapid tests also may be purchased from most pharmacies, including UHS.
Additionally those with symptoms may seek testing from their primary-care physician or an urgent care center. Symptomatic students may be tested at UHS.
Masking continues to be an effective form of enhanced personal protection against COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases, including influenza and RSV.
Free high-filtration masks are available while supplies last at the info desks at the Michigan Union, Michigan League and Pierpont Commons, and at the welcome desk at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
Other preventive measures continue
University officials maintain a close watch on COVID and other illnesses using data from UHS, Michigan Medicine and the Washtenaw County Health Department.
Ninety-five percent of campus classrooms have five air exchanges per hour, in line with CDC recommendations, and more than 99% of classrooms are equipped with MERV-13 filters.
As winter approaches and more activities shift indoors, public health experts also recommend frequent hand washing and staying home when sick.