Loomis Brings COVID-19 Booster Clinic to Campus

Jim Le '23, Contributor

Returning back on campus after a well-deserved winter break, the Loomis Chaffee community was offered the opportunity to sign up for a booster clinic scheduled on January 24 in the Olcott Athletics Center.
In late April last year, Loomis partnered with Community Health Center, Inc., a primary care service provider in Connecticut, to hold our first COVID-19 vaccination clinic. This year’s booster clinic will be supported by the same provider via Griffin Health.
“Griffin Health is also known as the ‘vax van’. We have used them on a larger scale so we have them set up in the gym instead of outside in the cold,” explained Director of Nursing Carolyn Jarvis.
Hosting a booster clinic has not been an easy task for Loomis. Several peer boarding schools have hosted a clinic or are planning to, but not everyone can handle the extra time commitment to accommodate a clinic.
“Even though the LC staff nurses are not the ones vaccinating the students, it still takes a lot of time and planning,” Ms. Jarvis said.
Only a week after the school’s return from winter break, Loomis added another booster clinic on January 27 due to the high demand from the school community. This additional clinic will accommodate more people in need of booster shots. It also gives students more flexibility and time to work with, since the clinics are held during the day, potentially interfering with classes and activities.
“We hope to vaccinate about 200-250 students total in these next two clinics. It can be tough because we are utilizing an outside vendor so there is a little less control for human factors. For example, if they get backed up, they might have to turn away students and that is completely out of our control,” Ms. Jarvis said.
Despite the possible risks that the school may face in partnering with an outside company like Griffin Health, there has been plenty of positive feedback from the students who have attended one of the two offered clinics.
“I didn’t expect the booster clinic to go by that smoothly…. The lines weren’t too long. The often difficult task of giving the vaccine was handled professionally by the nurse, who was very patient with me,” Cyrus Wong ’22 said.
Even with two booster clinics, some students at Loomis were still unable to receive their third dose of the vaccine. This is due to the current regulation which only permits the booster shot to be taken five months after receiving the second dose.
“Unfortunately, I was two days short of being eligible to attend the last clinic on January 27. It would have been great to receive my third dose before leaving for Heads Holiday in the following week. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that the school will hold more clinics for students in the same situation as me in the near future,” Seth Sukboontip ’23 said.
As of now, it is hard to estimate an exact date to hold the next clinic, as it is dependent on the availability of Griffin Health. “Hopefully, we can get in another one during the spring trimester if not sooner,” Ms. Jarvis said.