(by Ross Ibbetson | Daily Mail) – Duke University has announced that it will require all faculty and staff to get a Covid-19 booster shot before the start of February or 28 days after they are eligible.
Any employee who fails to provide proof of a booster or apply for an exemption will be placed on administrative leave. If employees do not get booster-jabed within a week of their leave, they will be fired.
The policy is the strictest of the North Carolina colleges, with North Carolina State and UNC Chapel Hill requiring tests for staff and students returning to classes in January but not requiring vaccines or boosters.
Duke joins a raft of elite colleges which are pressing ahead with booster requirements, including Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame, Dartmouth, Columbia, Brown, Cornell and Syracuse.
It comes amid soaring cases of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant – with the US setting a record with a seven-day average of 254,496 cases reported on Tuesday as infections doubled on two weeks ago.
The country’s previous record was about 251,989 daily cases, reported on January 11.
Universities are following CDC guidance which states hat the best protection against the new strain is a booster shot.
Dr Anthony Fauci said earlier this month that a booster shot increased antibody levels by more than 20 times when tested in a laboratory.
However, growing evidence that the new strain of the disease is milder is making the debate around vaccine mandates increasingly heated.
A federal appeals court on December 18 reinstated Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for private firms with more than 100 employees.
It means the battle will now move to the Supreme Court as various states rail against the rule from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that was to take effect next week. Read Full Article >