Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

New COVID-19 vaccine may pose campus problems

A new vaccine targeting COVID-19 subvariants is set to release later this month, but stocking them on campus may pose extra challenges, the UW Oshkosh’s Student Health Center director said.

The BA.2.86 subvariant is a highly mutated version of Omicron raising concerns with health experts.

First detected within Denmark in July, the variant appeared in the U.S. last month. Since Aug. 30, BA.2.86 has been detected in four states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC also stated that this variant may be more infectious to people with natural immunity or who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

An updated vaccine, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 11, is scheduled for availability later this month.

However, UWO’s Student Health Center, which provides vaccines to students, may not be able to stock the updated shot, Student Health Center Director Angela Hawley said.

“At the moment, that vaccine is projected to be commercialized, so the cost is going to go up dramatically,” she said. “We will probably not be able to stock the vaccine just from a cost perspective.”

Still, she said that the university is looking at alternative ways of providing the vaccine to students, such as partnering with Walgreens to provide on-campus clinics. This would be similar to the pop-up flu clinics that UWO offers students during the fall semester.

“We have three flu clinics that are starting up at the end of September where we partner with Walgreens, and we’re looking if there’s something we can do to add the new COVID-19 vaccines on to that,” she said. “We’re trying to see what other avenues we can use so students have easy access to it if we can’t stock it.”

The university currently provides the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, which targets the original virus strain, providing a broad protection against the virus.

However, with more and more distinct mutations, the CDC may stop recommending the use of bivalent vaccines, meaning the university won’t provide them, Hawley said.

“(The CDC) is thinking that, when the new vaccine is approved, (the bivalent vaccine) will no longer be recommended,” she said. “The new (vaccines) target the current strains, so they (the CDC) think that will be more protective,” she said. 

The recent COVID-19 subvariants have raised concerns across the U.S.

The University of Maryland recently implemented a new isolation policy for students who test positive for COVID-19.

Additionally, school districts in Kentucky and Texas have canceled in-person classes due to an increase in respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

So far, COVID-19 cases in Winnebago county have remained relatively low.

The daily average for COVID-19 hospitalizations in Winnebago sat between zero and three throughout August, the CDC reported.

This is on par with the average for March 2022, when UWO lifted its mask mandate and its COVID-19 orders expired.

Hawley said that the Student Health Center is in contact with the UWO administration, relaying information about COVID-19, the flu and other viruses and campus health concerns.

Currently, the UW System has not clarified any new policies regarding COVID-19 protocol, and UWO Chief Communications Officer Peggy Breister said that UWO is following suit.

“UWO is not instituting any protocols specific to COVID-19 at this time, but, as we do with any health or safety issue, we will monitor information from authorities and determine if there are steps we need to take on our campuses,” she said.

Still, effective prevention methods are crucial to diminishing the impacts of COVID-19, Hawley said.

“We always encourage individuals to have infection prevention measures like good handwashing and staying home and away from others if you’re not feeling well,” she said. “If you feel like you have it, you can still get the at-home test kits, test yourself and continue to follow the CDC recommendations. COVID-19 is here and it’s not going away.”

UWO’s COVID-19 recommendations and policies can be found at

The Student Health Center’s website will display information on campus flu clinics when they open later this month. Their website can be found at

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