Mandatory Vaccines for Students


Elizabeth Whitman

Many major universities will be requiring the Covid-19 vaccine in order to attend school in the fall. Rutgers University is making it mandatory for all students who take on campus courses to get the vaccine. This does not include students who are only taking online classes. They were the first college in the country to do this. Rutgers is also allowing exemptions from the vaccine for medical or religious reasons. However, the university is not requiring their staff to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Since then, other universities have followed suit. California State University and the University of California both declared that all students, staff, and faculty must receive the vaccine in order to be on campus. There are numerous other colleges that will be requiring the vaccines including Yale University, Stanford University, Emory University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and likely many more to follow. 

While some people are very supportive of mandatory vaccinations for college students, others disagree. Eric Feldman is a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. He said “I think we’ll see lawsuits challenging the legality of mandating the vaccine at all. I’d be amazed if we didn’t see lawsuits against Rutgers or other employers mandating the vaccine brought by people who claim to have had an adverse reaction to the vaccine.” Whether or not colleges are requiring the vaccine can affect high school seniors’ decision about where they want to attend school in the fall. This leaves younger high school students wondering if the vaccine will be mandatory for them also. Obviously, this could not happen until the vaccine is approved for this age group. Ultimately, it will be up to each state to determine whether they want to require the vaccine. The state will also decide which exemptions are allowed.