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01/18/2022 - COVID-19 Booster Requirement

To: The Campus Community 

From:  Julia McCallin, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer

As a means to curb the spread of the Omicron variant and to protect the community, Caltech's president, provost, and vice president for student affairs announced on December 17, 2021, that the Institute will now require all faculty, students, postdoctoral researchers, visitors, and staff, apart from employees at JPL, to provide proof of having received a COVID-19 booster shot. This also applies to employees working at Caltech's offsite facilities. I am following up on that communication today to share how faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers, and visitors can provide documentation of their COVID-19 immunizations, including their booster dose, and the associated deadlines for doing so. 

All faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers, and visitors must record their COVID-19 vaccination history, including documentation of a booster dose if currently eligible, through the Caltech Health Portal by January 31, 2022. Those employees not currently eligible will have up to 30 days from their eligibility date to update their vaccination record in the health portal to reflect that they have received their booster dose. Students who were eligible to receive a booster had until January 15, 2022 to upload their documentation.

Instructions for uploading both proof of booster vaccination and information on previous COVID-19 vaccinations is available on the COVID-19 Booster Upload Instructions site. Please note that this is a different portal than was previously used to document your COVID-19 vaccination with the Institute. For that reason, employees will be asked to upload a complete history of all COVID-19 vaccinations received to date. Access to the portal is restricted to those with Access.Caltech credentials. 

In addition to providing the dates of your COVID vaccinations, proof of vaccination, including a booster dose, may be provided as either a photograph of your vaccination card with booster shot indicated, or as a screenshot or photo of an authorized digital vaccination record, such as the California Department of Public Health's digital COVID-19 vaccine record. If you have questions, please see the Booster Requirement FAQs. If you have technical issues, please contact IMSS at help@caltech.edu.

Booster Eligibility
Individuals are eligible to receive a booster five months after the second dose of their Pfizer/Moderna mRNA vaccine series or two months after the single-dose J&J vaccine. Pursuant to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, those who have been fully vaccinated outside of the U.S. with a vaccine approved under the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing (WHO EUL) are eligible for a single booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine five months after full vaccination. To determine your eligibility, please see Los Angeles County Public Health's COVID-19 vaccine eligibility chart.

Vaccination Requirement
Caltech began requiring COVID-19 vaccination in October 2021. At the time, public-health officials considered individuals who had received two shots of the vaccine to be fully vaccinated. With the emergence the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and later the Omicron variant—both of which are highly transmissible and have been responsible for fall and winter waves of COVID-19—public health officials now recommend individuals receive a booster shot after they have completed their primary vaccine series.

As emerging research shows, the efficacy of two-dose regimens of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provide less protection against variants such as Omicron and Delta. The addition of a booster dose is shown to reduce rates of hospitalization and death associated with infections of all variants of the virus.

Because of the substantial risk COVID-19 poses to the health and well-being of our employees and students, proof of this booster shot is requiredEmployees who have not documented their booster vaccination status or otherwise have an approved exemption on file with the Institute by January 31, 2022, or within 30 days of becoming eligible, may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Thank you for your cooperation in helping to ensure the safety of your colleagues and coworkers.