UB is “not empowered” to require students to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in the fall, according to university spokesperson John DellaContrada. Instead, such requirements are mandated by New York State.
“UB leadership is continually monitoring all aspects of the pandemic, including the rollout of coronavirus vaccines,” DellaContrada said in an email. “The university itself is not empowered to mandate vaccination for the fall semester. Vaccination in New York State is mandated by Public Health Law.”
New York State higher education institutions are currently only required to mandate the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, according to New York State Public Health Law Section 2165. Exemptions are made for students with religious objections.
UB is slated to resume in-person instruction in the fall, UB President Satish Tripathi announced in January.
“As we look toward this fall with hope, we are also optimistic about an increasingly robust vaccine distribution and administration across the state, the nation and the world as 2021 advances,” Tripathi said in an email to the campus community.
UB has no plans to directly provide vaccines to students.
“At this point, the university is not expected to be a direct source for vaccines for UB faculty, staff and students outside of those who are otherwise eligible,” reads a memo posted to UB Vaccination Updates and Protocols.
South Campus serves as a state-designated vaccination clinic for eligible New York State residents. Phases 1a and 1b of New York State’s vaccination rollout make no accommodations specifically for students.
President Joe Biden says the U.S. is “on track” to have enough vaccines for every adult American by the end of May, according to the New York Times. It remains unclear when students can begin making vaccine appointments in New York State.
Seventy-one percent of undergraduate students in the U.S. believe colleges have the right to require COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a poll by College Pulse.
Brendan Kelly is the assistant news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org