Rutgers University, New Jersey’s flagship public college, is requiring all its students to get vaccinated in order to attend classes on campus this fall.
In response to President Joe Biden’s mandate to have vaccinations for all by May, Rutgers is forcing its New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden students to get the shot to comply with its safety protocols.
“We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students,” Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said in a statement.
Students with medical and religious exemptions do not need to be vaccinated, and it is also not a requirement for students who are only taking classes online.
“An effective vaccination program is a continuation of Rutgers’ commitment to health and safety for all members of our community of more than 71,000 students, the cities we are in and the communities we serve throughout New Jersey,” Rutgers Chief Operating Officer Antonio Calcado added.
Although it is “strongly urged” that staff and faculty get vaccinated, it is not required.
“The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination include prevention of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus,” Holloway said, NPR reported. “Broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect our University community.”
Rutgers may be the first higher ed institution to force students to get vaccinated, but other colleges might follow in its footsteps, Dr. Richard Watkins, a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, told Yahoo! Lifestyle.
“Hopefully, it won’t be a problem by the summer,” Watkins said.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Friday that the Garden State will expand its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people ages 55 and older on April 5—an appropriate measure for the state that has the highest number of new COVID-19 infections, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. As of Thursday, in New Jersey, there are 3,469 new confirmed cases and 38 deaths.