WashU Med COVID-19 Update

Sept. 15, 2022
Information for School of Medicine faculty, staff and students

Our numbers

COVID-19 hospitalizations

Barnes-Jewish Hospital

60 inpatients confirmed

St. Louis Children's Hospital

6 inpatients confirmed

WashU Med

Active cases

30 employees

8 students

Key announcements

Photo of a woman wearing a surgical mask receiving a vaccination.

Updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters targeting omicron now available

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsement, updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now available from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older, and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older. The bivalent formulas combat both the original COVID strain and the two most prevalent omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5.

BJC HealthCare started providing the updated Pfizer booster for ages 12 and older this week. You can make an appointment online. Going forward:

  • The original monovalent formula is no longer authorized as a booster for ages 12 and older and will not be given as boosters in BJC clinics.
  • The original monovalent vaccines are still authorized for the primary vaccine series and boosters for children ages 5-11.
  • Children under age 5 are not yet eligible for boosters.

The CDC recommends that people wait at least two months since their last vaccine dose or booster to receive an updated booster shot. Adults ages 18 and over may receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine booster regardless of which product they received for their primary series and/or prior booster dose.

Boosters are widely available at clinics, pharmacies and other health care providers. To find locations or a Moderna vaccine site, visit vaccinatestl.org or vaccines.gov. You can also text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations.

WashU Med strongly encourages all those who are eligible to receive booster doses to increase protection against COVID-19 infection and complications.

Masking optional in non-clinical spaces on the Medical Campus

As announced last week, WashU Med, in collaboration with BJC, has updated guidance on masking and meetings. Masks are now optional for fully vaccinated employees and students who work in office-based or non-clinical settings where no patients or clinical visitors are encountered. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose J&J/Janssen vaccine.

Masking continues to be required in clinical settings and is strongly encouraged in large indoor gatherings and crowded spaces. Unvaccinated employees and students with approved vaccine exemptions must remain masked in all spaces.

WashU Med and BJC continue to closely monitor COVID-19 transmission in the community and on the Medical Campus. These rules may change as disease activity changes and CDC guidelines and science advance, including potential return to more restricted guidance based on local conditions.

Positive COVID-19 tests must be reported to Occupational Health

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 outside of WashU Med/BJC HealthCare Occupational Health are required to call the COVID-19 Exposure/Illness Hotline at 314-362-5056. Please have your employee ID number available. If you are reporting results from a rapid antigen test — like those used at home — staff will assist you in arranging to take a PCR test to confirm your result. If you received a positive result from a PCR test taken outside of WashU Med/BJC HealthCare, you can email documentation of your test to covidcallcenter@wustl.edu.

Other news

Nasal COVID-19 vaccine approved in India based on Washington University technology (WashU Med News, Sept. 7, 2022)

The world's first nasal vaccine for COVID-19 — created by WashU Med scientists in collaboration with Bharat Biotech International Limited in India — has the potential to block infection and break the cycle of transmission, as well as prevent lung damage.

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