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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Now is not the time to relax COVID-19 vigilance

The Editorial Board encourages students to get the COVID-19 vaccine booster and be safe over the holidays

Once finals are done next week, it will be our long-awaited winter break. Our first quarter back in person certainly came with its ups and downs, and this feels like a chance to catch our breath and de-stress. But as we do so, we should not relax our adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

In many cases, differing guidelines about COVID-19 safety are reasonably determined — based on transmission benchmarks and positivity rates — but the politicization of the pandemic has contributed to individuals feeling agency in choosing whether or not they will adhere to COVID-19 safety measures. Yolo County is still enforcing that everyone — regardless of vaccination status — wears a mask indoors, and so is UC Davis, but not all counties and institutions require that. 

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it: Follow safety measures to protect yourself and your community. 

The omicron COVID-19 variant, classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the most serious “variant of concern” designation, was first detected in the U.S. in San Francisco two days ago. President Joe Biden outlined a COVID-19 plan for winter on Dec. 2, including a recommendation for all adults to get a booster shot. This follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Nov. 29 recommendation that individuals 18 years or older receive a booster.    

The Editorial Board encourages readers to get a booster shot once they are eligible. Experts say they expect a winter surge, so a booster shot will not only provide added protection but also, hopefully, minimize distress and anxiousness about contracting coronavirus. Now that it’s flu season, reviewing the differences in symptoms of a cold, COVID-19 and the flu may also be helpful in reducing stress related to getting sick. After Jan. 17, 2022, the third week of winter quarter, fully-vaccinated UC Davis students will no longer be required, just “strongly encouraged,” to get tested every 14 days. Getting the booster may also help you feel more secure once those around you are not necessarily getting tested as regularly.

UC quietly issued an executive order mandating that students, staff and faculty receive flu shots or affirmatively opt out by Nov. 19. Members of the Editorial Board have communicated with peers about this, and some UC Davis students did not know about this requirement. Flu season peaks between December and February, according to the CDC. If you have not yet received your flu shot, we encourage that you do so as soon as possible. If you have opted out and have not reviewed information about flu shots, it might be worthwhile to ask your physician about your specific concerns.

COVID-19 infections have been rising through the holiday season already; it is understandably a stressful time (on top of finals season), but making decisions in the service of public health can provide a sense of agency. It seems trite to say it, but you should treat yourself with grace now that even more stress is being added to these exhausting 20 months. Take a break from studying and go for a walk, enjoy a meal with your roommates or just take that nap you’ve been thinking about all day. Good luck on finals and stay safe this winter, Aggies.

 

Written by: The Editorial Board

 

If you or anyone you know has concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, there are resources available. The CDC has information about vaccine safety and effectiveness at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/effectiveness.html. You can schedule an appointment through https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/

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