Rutgers University to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for all students


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Rutgers University will require students attending the university to be vaccinated before their arrival this fall.

Avery Fitz, The Delphi Editor

On March 25, 2021, Rutgers University announced that they will be mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all students enrolled in the coming 2021 fall semester.

Rutgers became the first major university to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for its student population. Currently, Rutgers has over 70,000 students, and 81% of those who are enrolled are from New Jersey.

The only students who are exempt from the mandated vaccine are those who are enrolled in fully online classes and individuals who have religious or health conflicts.

This time last spring, Rutgers made headlines with regard to the COVID-19 virus, but that news was surrounding its newly-developed rapid test for all three strains of the coronavirus. The university received praise throughout the world for creating a safe, reliable, and quick test to help in the battle against rising Covid-19 cases.

Critics of this announcement feel that Rutgers’ mandating of the vaccine sets a dangerous precedent that violates personal and religious freedoms.

Objections to mandated vaccines for students in New Jersey is certainly not a new issue. In January of 2020, thousands protested in Trenton, NJ against a proposed bill from NJ legislators that would end the policy that allowed parents to cite religious beliefs as a valid reason to opt out of immunizations for their child without affecting that child’s ability to enroll in school.

Already vaccinated Rutgers nursing student, Amanda Fitz, a current junior at the university, has strong opinions on the subject of the vaccine mandate. “Although I might be biased because I am a nursing student, I truly believe it is the best and safest thing for everyone,” Fitz said. “This pandemic has already claimed so many lives.”

“It affects so many people in so many different ways, not just those who pass away from the virus, but those who are suffering long-term effects. By mandating the vaccine at such a large university, we can help protect so many individuals, not just the students, but those around them, including family and loved ones,” Fitz said.

When the students are able to qualify for the vaccine, Fitz urges them to get it.  Starting Monday, April 19, all New Jersey residents 16 and above are eligible to be vaccinated.