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WAMC News

UVM To Require Students Be Vaccinated For COVID Without Full Federal Approval

Old Mill Building on the University  of Vermont campus (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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Old Mill Building on the University of Vermont campus (file)

A committee of the University of Vermont's Board of Trustees has endorsed requiring that students be vaccinated against COVID-19. The decision announced Friday goes further than a notice from the school last month that it would require students to be vaccinated if the shots had received final approval from the Food and Drug Administration. UVM Vice President Gary Derr tells WAMC it’s unlikely the FDA will give such approval before the start of the school year and vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in reducing the spread of COVID.

"And as we looked at the situation over the last six weeks since we made that announcement, we decided that for a safe and healthy return to fall that we need to move it to requirement regardless of the FDA approval," said Derr. 

Derr says about half of the incoming 13,500 students in all of the university's colleges have provided proof of vaccination. Derr says students can request religious and medical exemptions, but not for so-called “philosophical” reasons. Derr says faculty and staff are not required to be vaccinated, but added that state data shows most of the surrounding adult population has already gotten the shots. Vermont leads the nation in vaccinating residents.

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities are taking a similar approach as UVM. In New York, SUNY has announced plans to require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 pending full FDA approval.

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