NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Rutgers University will be requiring students who are enrolled for the 2021 fall semester to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The university announced the decision Thursday, citing assurances from the federal government that vaccines will be available for all Americans by the end of May.
University officials noted that students can request an exemption from vaccination for medical and religious reasons, and students enrolled in fully remote programs will not be required to be vaccinated.
"We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students," said Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway.
Faculty and staff are strongly urged to receive the vaccine, according to the university.
As for students under the age of 18 who may be enrolling, they will be advised to receive the Pfizer vaccine, as it is the only one of the three currently approved vaccines in the U.S. that is approved for 16 and 17-year-olds. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines are approved for those 18 and older.
"The COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death," said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for health affairs at Rutgers. "Vaccination is key to stopping the current pandemic and to the return of campus instruction and activities closer to what we were accustomed to before the pandemic drastically changed life at Rutgers."
The university recently received approval from the State of New Jersey to administer vaccines to on-campus faculty, staff, and students once vaccine supplies are made available to them.
"We urge all members of our community to pre-register for the vaccine on the state COVID-19 website to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity and the first available location," Strom said.
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