The two largest universities in California; the University of California and California State University, are set to introduce mandatory vaccination programs for students and staff in order to restart in-person campus teaching before the start of the next academic year.
The universities, which hold more than 1 million students and staff combined, are set to be embarking on this policy together, as they released a joint statement over the weekend.
CSU holds close to 500,000 students, alongside tens of thousands of staff, whereas UC holds close to 300,000 students, making these institutions the biggest in the nation.
The universities released a joint statement to announce their intentions to get all students and staff vaccinated by the fall.
CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro led the statement, claiming that their joint venture will be the ‘most comprehensive and consequential university plan for COVID-19 vaccines in the country.’
The universities, which combined hold 33 campuses throughout the state, are set to begin their programmes immediately, and will allow exemptions for those who are medically unable to receive a vaccine.
The University of California will also allow such exemptions to exist, but will require all students to swiftly update their immunization records before allowing them back onto campus.
Students who are allowed to get a vaccine but refuse will be banned from entering campus for face-to-face teaching, and they will also be prohibited from living in halls of residence if they previously applied to do so for next year.
Some universities don’t want to vaccinate their students and staff
The US Food and Drug Administration has already authorized emergency usage of the Moderna, Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines for these institutions, with one of the three expected to be rolled out before the start of term.
More universities, such as Rutgers, Brown, Cornell and Northeastern, are now introducing mandatory vaccination programmes for their students and staff, following on from the announcement made by CSU and UC.
However, there are some institutions that refuse to make vaccination mandatory, with Virginia Tech claiming they cannot implement such a programme as the FDA will only be releasing these vaccinations for emergency use.
A California court ruling last year has given these universities the legal backing they needed, as the case upheld the flu jab requirement at the University of California.