Leadership Update: Timely news and updates for our leaders

To all DUHS and PDC team members,

The Omicron variant has now emerged within the Durham community, and it is expected to quickly become the dominant strain as COVID-19 cases continue a rapid spike across the country. After consultation with our infectious disease and public health specialists, Duke University Health System and the Private Diagnostic Clinic will require all staff and providers to share proof of receiving the COVID-19 booster shot in January or as soon as they are eligible under CDC and state guidelines.

Guidelines and details for compliance will be shared in the coming days and will outline appropriate timelines consistent with current guidelines. We wanted to provide you with advance notice of our plans so that you can take action as soon as possible.

It is our responsibility to our patients and to our team members to keep our healthcare environment safe. Thank you to the more than 20,000 faculty and staff who have already received their booster shots. For those who have not already done so, we strongly encourage you to get your booster shot as soon as you are eligible and submit the documentation to update your records.

Booster shots are now conveniently available at local pharmacies, supermarkets and many other locations you can find through the NC DHHS directory. To find options at Duke facilities, you can visit the Duke COVID Vaccine website.

The CDC has said that individuals can choose any of the three boosters now authorized regardless of the manufacturer of their original dose(s). Duke medical experts suggest that anyone who received the J&J vaccine preferentially get a booster shot of either Pfizer or Moderna, which have been proven highly effective in preventing infection and severe illness. 
Booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free. While existing data suggests the Omicron variant appears to cause fewer cases of severe illness, it is also much more contagious than the Delta variant and can spread much more quickly, threatening our education, research and healthcare activities. Getting the booster can help protect our patients, their loved ones and each other, as well as ensure that our hospital and clinical resources are available to support the community during a time of urgent need.
These steps will help limit a potential outbreak in our facilities and in our community and protect those most vulnerable to this virus. Additional information and resources, including options to get a booster shot, can found on the Duke COVID Vaccine website. You may also submit questions to stopcovid@dm.duke.edu.
William J. Fulkerson, MD
Executive Vice President
Duke University Health System