Isavel Van Brugen
April 7, 2021
A growing number of U.S. colleges are announcing plans to mandate the vaccination of students returning to campus this fall, in line with President Joe Biden’s pledge to make all adults in the country eligible for COVID-19 jabs by early summer.
At least six colleges – Cornell University, Rutgers University, Fort Lewis College, Nova Southeastern University, St. Edward’s University, and Roger Williams College in Rhode Island – have so far said that all students would need to be vaccinated before a fall return.
Three COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States so far – Pfizer/BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine, Moderna’s two-dose vaccine, and Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine. Emergency use authorization is a faster, less rigorous process compared to full FDA approval.
Vaccines that have previously been required by U.S. colleges, for example shots for rubella or measles, had full FDA approval.
Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said in a statement that its vaccine requirement will apply to three of the university’s main campuses—New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden. Beginning this fall, students will be required to present “proof of vaccination” before they are allowed to move into their dormitories, or attend physical classes.
“Adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students,” Holloway said in the statement, noting that students may file for an exemption for religious or medical reasons.