All Updates Danforth Digest

Pfizer boosters; surveillance testing update; vaccines and pregnancy

Vaccine booster available for immunocompromised, Pfizer-vaccinated patients beginning Saturday

The Food and Drug Administration has amended the emergency use authorizations of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to allow booster doses for some immunocompromised patients, including transplant patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee is working to better define which additional populations will be eligible. Qualified patients should seek a third dose of their original vaccine, to be administered at least 28 days following their second dose.

BJC HealthCare and WashU Med will be providing Pfizer vaccine booster doses to transplant patients and those with qualifying conditions, as defined by the CDC, at the Clayton Avenue Building and Christian Hospital public clinics starting Saturday. Only patients who originally received the Pfizer vaccine will be eligible. Patients will be able to self-attest to their qualifying medical conditions (no doctor’s note required) and it must be at least 28 days since receiving a second Pfizer vaccine dose. Patients who prefer to schedule their doses will be able to schedule vaccine appointments next week.

Questions may be directed to

Surveillance testing to be required for students, faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated

In an update to the plan for fall, students, faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated will be required to complete mandatory surveillance testing every other week during the fall semester. Students who are not fully vaccinated at the start of the semester because they have an exemption or because they did not have access to approved vaccines before arriving on campus also will be required to complete entry testing when arriving on campus. Fully vaccinated students are not required to complete entry or surveillance testing. Faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated because they have an exemption or are otherwise unable to get vaccinated also will be required to complete regular surveillance testing during the fall semester.

In addition, we will continue to provide free COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff who develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any time. Individuals with even mild symptoms – including those who have been fully vaccinated – should be tested for COVID-19. Members of the university community should call the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056 to report symptoms or exposure and to arrange for a free test.

Information about entry and surveillance testing will be provided directly to individuals who are not fully vaccinated in the weeks ahead. More information about testing is available on the COVID-19 testing page on the WashU Together website.

CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy

This week, the CDC released new data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people and is recommending all people 12 years of age and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.

In the agency’s updated guidance, it stresses that the increased circulation of the highly contagious delta variant, the low vaccine uptake among pregnant people, and the increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever.

In a recent post on the Children’s Mom Docs website, WashU Med high-risk obstetrician Ebony Carter, MD, MPH, explains why she recommends the vaccine to her patients.

Reminder: The plan for the fall semester

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin and Provost Beverly Wendland released on July 30 the plan for the fall semester. Here are some of the highlights:

Masking and physical distancing. Masks are again required at indoor gatherings for everyone, regardless of vaccination status or the size of a meeting or gathering. Masks are not required when an individual is inside a private office or room or while eating or drinking, allowing for personal space as much as possible. Masks are required in open office settings such as cubicles. Masks are encouraged but not required for outdoor activities, particularly at large events or in crowded settings. Physical distancing is not required in most settings, but strongly encouraged for individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

Self-screening. All students, faculty, staff and trainees are required to complete a daily self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus or leaving their on-campus residence. Individuals may be asked to show their screening result before entering a classroom, dining facility, recreation facility or other shared space, and at some university events. The screening tool is available at

Click here to see the full plan for fall on the WashU Together website. The COVID Monitoring Team will continue to keep a close eye on conditions in the St. Louis region.