The number of U.S. colleges that have announced students will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend classes this fall continues to grow.
According to a report coming from NPR, Rutgers University, which is located in New Jersey, was the first educational institution to require students to take the vaccine in order to attend on-campus classes.
Duke University from North Carolina has just announced a similar policy, along with Notre Dame, Brown, Cornell, and Northeastern University.
“Vaccinations are an important tool for making the fall semester safe,” said Antonio Calcado, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Rutgers University who has been leading their COVID-19 task force. “We felt that simply encouraging would not have the same effect as a requirement.”
During the pandemic, many colleges, especially residential campuses, were challenged by the virus as students attended parties off campus and brought the disease back into their dorms. While young people have less COVID-19 risk, their return to campuses last fall spiked a deadly number of coronavirus infections not only on campuses, but also in the communities surrounding the colleges, said The New York Times. Deaths in communities that are home to colleges rose faster than the rest of the nation.
According to NPR, requiring students to show proof of the MMR, or measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, has been mandatory in about 87.5% of four-year colleges in all 50 states.
Now, normally, a college or university would have the right to require students to take a vaccine in order to attend classes, however, because this vaccine has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, these institutions might have a hard time upholding their decision.
Currently, the vaccine has received emergency uses authorization by the FDA, not full approval. This essentially means anyone who takes the vaccine is taking an experimental drug. However, many believe the FDA will give full approval for the vaccine sometime over the summer.