Emory professor urges university officials to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations 'across the board'

Emory University strongly encourages everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but staff and faculty aren't required to get vaccinated. Professor Clifton Crais is urging university officials to make vaccines mandatory across the board.

"Faculty and staff at Emory are passionate teachers and researchers, and we really want to do our job. The problem is not having vaccinations, across the board, compromises that really important goal," Emory University Professor Clifton Crais said.

A goal Professor Crais said several colleges and universities across the country have already adopted.

"Including our historically black colleges and universities in Atlanta," said Crais. "And literally everyone from Harvard University to the country's largest institution for higher education, the University of California system."

The university did require students who planned to attend Emory this fall get vaccinated.

Professor Crais is circulating a petition asking the university mandate all faculty and staff get the vaccine.

In a written statement, Emory University spokeswoman Laura Diamond stated:

"Emory University strongly encourages everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to help protect themselves, each other, and our entire community. Emory requires all faculty and staff to be either fully vaccinated or submit to weekly screening testing after July 1."

Diamond went on to say that Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves explained this protocol in a June 3 message to the Emory community and additional details were provided in a follow-up message from Amir St. Clair, associate vice president and executive director for COVID-19 response and recovery.

Professor Crais maintains mandatory vaccinations will reduce the risk of transmission and allow for students and faculty to resume normal activities.

"I'm not able to do my job effectively," said Crais. "And what that really means is being in the classroom, not wearing a mask, interacting with my students and working in an environment where we can move about freely knowing that it's a safe, a safe space."

Faculty and staff were required to share their vaccination status with the university by July 1.

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