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December 2, 2021

In Case You Missed It

COVID-19 and Omicron Variant Update

While there are no known cases caused by the Omicron variant in San Diego County at this time, epidemiologists fully expect to see Omicron appear in San Diego soon. UC San Diego’s expert epidemiologists and UC San Diego Health’s physician scientists are keeping a close watch on developments with the new variant and will advise if changes in our campus, hospital and clinical safety procedures are warranted. Our immediate goal is to ramp up vaccinations and boosters as vigorously as possible. Do not wait for an Omicron-specific vaccine or booster.
You are eligible for a COVID-19 booster if it has been…
  • Six months or more since you completed your two-dose regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or
  • Two months or more since you completed your one-dose regimen of Johnson and Johnson.
Please encourage your family and friends who aren’t UC San Diego affiliates to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster wherever is most convenient for them, including their health care providers or local pharmacies. 
Flyer to promote the campaign to get 10,000 students to receive a booster vaccine
Tritons, it’s time to level up your COVID-19 protection with a booster shot before the holidays. Our goal is to have 10,000 students get their COVID-19 vaccine booster by Dec. 31. Meeting that goal means the Basic Needs Hub will receive a $50,000 donation from Chancellor Khosla to support food security, housing resources and financial wellness for all Tritons. Students can also upload their vaccination info if received from another provider.
Schedule Your Shot Now

Upcoming Town Halls

Research Town Hall

Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 9:30 a.m.

Staff Town Hall

Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m.
Screenshot of an NBC News segment depicting a female researcher sitting in a laboratory processing samples of the COVID-19 virus
NBC News recently visited UC San Diego to get a behind-the-scenes look at how our scientists are sequencing positive COVID-19 tests to check for the Omicron variant. The segment highlights the work of faculty and scholars at the School of Medicine, including Professor Natasha Martin, infectious disease modeler and one of the architects of Return to Learn; Kristen Jepsen, PhD, director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine; and postdoctoral scholar Smruthi Karthikeyan, PhD.

Your Questions Answered

Question: Has the Omicron variant been detected in the United States?
Answer: On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and named it Omicron. On November 30, 2021, the United States also classified it as a Variant of Concern. CDC has been actively monitoring and preparing for this variant, and continues to work diligently with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more. 
The California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health have confirmed that a recent case of COVID-19 among an individual in California was caused by the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529). The individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021. The individual had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive. Despite the detection of Omicron, Delta remains the predominant strain in the United States. Read the full CDC statement.
Question: Can COVID-19 vaccines cause variants?
AnswerAccording to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines do not create or cause variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. New variants happen because the virus that causes COVID-19 constantly changes through a natural ongoing process of mutation. Even before the COVID-19 vaccines were introduced, there were several variants of the virus. COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent new variants from emerging by reducing the spread.
Question: What are the current flu vaccine requirements for the campus community?
Answer: All UC San Diego employees and students are required to submit an attestation that they have received a flu vaccine or affirmatively decline influenza vaccination as soon as possible. Campus community members who decline to receive the flu vaccine will be required to wear masks or face coverings at UC locations through the end of the flu season even if COVID-19 requirements are loosened. Make a flu vaccination appointment. 
If you have specific questions or would like to submit feedback about the Return to Learn program, please email
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