Dr. Brian Harper
Dear New York Tech Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As of October 13, 2021, more than 44.5 million cases of COVID-19 and 716,370 cumulative total deaths have been reported in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since the start of the pandemic. Nationally, new cases and new deaths continue to decrease. Over the past seven-day period, the state reporting the highest number of cases per 100,000 people is Alaska (777.7); California reported the least (66.2). In comparison, New York State has 217.4 cases per 100,000, and New York City has 110.4.

The vaccine rollout continues, with more than 404 million doses administered in the United States. As of October 13, 65.6 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose, and 56.6 percent is now fully vaccinated. In New York State, the CDC reports that 72.3 percent has received at least one dose, with 64.6 percent fully vaccinated.

On October 14, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended booster vaccines for those who have received the Moderna vaccine. This is similar to the previous recommendation for the third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the elderly, adults with underlying medical conditions, and those who work or live in high-risk settings (e.g., health-care workers). The next steps for the Moderna vaccine booster are final FDA approval and then endorsement by the CDC. The CDC vaccine advisory committee is expected to vote on the FDA’s recommendation next week. Once endorsed, Moderna booster shots could begin immediately for eligible Americans who completed their immunizations at least six months ago.

The FDA’s expert advisory committee is expected to meet today to discuss whether to grant emergency use authorization for a booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine. Additionally, the committee is scheduled to meet on October 26 to discuss emergency use authorization of the COVID vaccine for children ages 5-11, which would be followed by a decision by the FDA commissioner. If authorized, the CDC’s vaccine committee will discuss it during a scheduled November 2–3 meeting, which would be followed by the CDC director’s final approval.

The CDC continues to monitor variants of SARS Cov-2. A new category has been added, Variants Being Monitored (VBM), which includes variants for which there are data indicating a potential or clear impact on approved or authorized medical countermeasures or that have been associated with more severe disease or increased transmission but are no longer detected or are circulating at very low levels in the U.S. (and as such, do not pose a significant and imminent risk to public health in the U.S.). With this new categorization, the only Variant of Concern now is the Delta variant. The Delta variant is now the most dominant variant by far in all states that are being monitored, reaching nearly 100 percent. All other variants (Alpha through Zeta) are in the VBM category.
As a reminder, all New York Tech students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated by October 22, 2021. Please find more information about our vaccination and testing policies and how to upload your proof of vaccination here. Please upload your proof of vaccination so we have your records in our Health Screen database!
In the New York Tech community, we continue to see occasional breakthrough cases (COVID cases that occur in those who are fully vaccinated). Therefore, employees and students should wear masks on campus and remain at home when ill. Even if you are vaccinated, you can still carry COVID-19, so stay at home if you have any flu-like symptoms and do not put others at risk.

As always, those who may feel anxious or uneasy can reach out to Counseling and Wellness Services at our campuses in Long Island (516.686.7683) or New York City (212.261.1773) to talk or make a virtual appointment.


Brian L. Harper M.D., M.P.H.
Chief Medical Officer, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine

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