University of Vermont to Require COVID-19 Vaccinations for Students | Off Message

University of Vermont to Require COVID-19 Vaccinations for Students

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A health care worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine - COURTESY OF RYAN MERCER / UVM MEDICAL CENTER
  • Courtesy of Ryan Mercer / UVM Medical Center
  • A health care worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Updated at 1:37 p.m.

The University of Vermont will require all of its students to be vaccinated this fall, pending full approval of the vaccines from the federal Food and Drug Administration.

All full- and part-time students — “undergraduate, graduate, medical, and continuing and distance education students” — must be fully vaccinated and have proof of it, UVM announced on Wednesday. The school will also “continue to encourage faculty and staff members to get vaccinated,” the statement said.

“A fully vaccinated student population on our campus is the best way to protect the health of students, employees, and the broader Burlington community against COVID-19 infection,” UVM wrote in a list of reasons supporting its policy. “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.”
Last fall, UVM enrolled a total of nearly 13,300 students, a spokesperson said.



"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," spokesperson Enrique Corredera said in an email. "Students requesting an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination must complete a form by August 1."

The first day of classes begin August 30.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have applied for full FDA approval for their two-dose vaccinations, though Pfizer started the process earlier, in the beginning of May. It’s unclear how long the full approval will take, though it is generally many months.

Other Vermont schools of higher education, including Middlebury College, Saint Michael’s College and Champlain College, have announced similar requirements for student vaccinations. Norwich University has said that it will reopen with the “expectation” that all students, faculty and staff be vaccinated no later than August 1.

Gov. Phil Scott has said he'll lift all pandemic-related restrictions once at least 80 percent of eligible Vermonters age 12 and older receive at least one dose of vaccine. As of Wednesday, 79.6 percent had gotten at least one jab.