UVU to require COVID-19 vaccination by spring 2022

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Utah Valley University will require on-campus students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning in 2022, the university announced on Monday Aug. 30. They will join other universities: University of Utah, Utah State University and Weber State University. They are still developing plans. 

“The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) recently provided the state’s public universities with greater flexibility for setting vaccination policies for students,” said President Astrid S. Tuminez, Wayne Vaught, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, Kyle Reyes, vice president of student affairs, Val Peterson, vice president of administration and strategic relations, and Marilyn Meyer, vice president of people and culture, in their announcement on Monday. “We are working to develop a plan aimed at reducing infection and hospitalization rates in our county and state while acknowledging exemptions for personal, religious, and medical reasons.”

Currently, the requirement does not extend to faculty and staff–these conversations are happening at the state level. UVU strongly encourages faculty and staff to get vaccinated, stating in the same announcement, “We are also pleased with the steady flow of students coming to our free vaccination clinic.” 

“Because we are paying to come to this university I don’t think it’s fair to require the vaccine,” said an undergraduate nursing student at UVU. “I want to be able to do it willingly, and I think that if they are going to require it they should give us more information on it.”

The CDC said that the vaccine in the United States is effective and prevents COVID-19, as shown during clinical trials. They state, “COVID-19 vaccination helps protect people from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19 and might also help protect people around them.” The CDC also mentions that you can still get COVID-19 if you’re vaccinated because no vaccine is 100% effective.

“Please do your part by staying away when sick, getting tested, wearing a mask, and becoming vaccinated,” said Robin Ebmeyer, UVU’s director of emergency management and safety. 

The University of Utah announced their vaccine requirement last week, “The good news is that one week into the semester, at least 67% of our students are fully vaccinated and 4.5% are partially vaccinated. More than 80% of benefitted faculty and staff have been vaccinated,” said Taylor Randall, President of University of Utah. 

“I will be able to feel safe on campus with the vaccine mandate now in place, I can work with students without fearing that I could get them seriously ill,” said an undergraduate biomedical student at the University of Utah. “No one likes wearing a mask, so it’s a relief to all that we can avoid wearing masks without feeling guilty.”

The CDC said, “The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA),” when discussing the safety of the vaccine.

“As a university, we are a place where science should be how we make decisions; all science points to vaccines being best for individuals and for communities,” said a faculty member in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at UVU. “I am happy to see us making choices using science.”

“I believe in vaccinations as being necessary not only for myself but I also feel a responsibility to protect other people,” said a staff member in the advising center at UVU. “While I understand that many people object to getting it, I fully support UVU requiring this, as we should be caring for others.”