CORRECTION: a photo caption in today’s emailed edition inaccurately states that UVM staff also will be required to receive FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccination. As reported below, staff and faculty vaccination is encouraged, but as of today will not be required.
The University of Vermont will require students to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus once at least one of the vaccines receives full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, school spokesperson Enrique Corredera said today.
The requirement will apply to all students entering or returning for the fall of 2021—including undergraduate, graduate, medical, and continuing and distance education students; both full-time and part-time students will be subject to the requirement. Once the current Emergency Use Authorization is lifted for any of the vaccines, and full FDA approval is granted, students will be required to have proof of their vaccination.
There is an exemption policy. “In rare instances, we understand there may be some unique health or religious reasons that may impact a student’s ability to pursue the required vaccination. Students requesting an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination must complete a form by August. 1,” Corredera said.
“The university, as it has done consistently throughout the pandemic, consulted with its public health and infectious disease experts as it considered the requirement,” Corredera said. UVM found the following points compelling:
· A fully vaccinated student population on campus is the best way to protect the health of students, employees, and the broader Burlington community against COVID-19 infection.
· Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes that vaccinations against the coronavirus are safe and effective (90-95% effective in “real world” studies) and protective against current variants. Vaccines are now widely available.
· People who are fully vaccinated are less likely to transmit infection to others. This is particularly important for a college community.
· This public health approach is consistent with longstanding efforts across the United States to protect students of all ages from a wide range of serious and contagious diseases.
· Later in the fall semester, as winter approaches, this step, along with making the flu vaccine widely available on our campus and ongoing campus education about ways to stay healthy, will help prevent illness and support our collective health.
The university will continue to encourage faculty and staff members to get vaccinated.