Rutgers University’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate draws criticism
Rutgers University is keeping its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the upcoming school year, drawing some criticism from some state lawmakers. Only the primary vaccines are required for students and staff. Boosters are not mandated unless one works or studies in a clinical setting.
Freshmen and their families lined College Avenue in New Brunswick on Wednesday for move-in day. Many told News 12 that they had no problem with the mandate.
"Personally, I'll follow the rules, whatever is going to happen. I think that we should focus more on our health,” said student Andrei Ramirez.
"Due to the amount of deaths and everything, it's just for protection,” said parent Abayomi Amissah.
Data from the university shows that all but 17 students have complied with the vaccine requirement for the upcoming year.
Rutgers officials declined to be interviewed but did issue a statement that read in part, "To support the health and safety for all members of the Rutgers community, the university includes the COVID-19 vaccine among immunization requirements for students. We will continue to follow public health trends and adjust our requirements as needed."
Republican state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon is calling for university leaders to resign over the mandate.
"If you had the vaccine, it wasn't going to stop you from getting COVID. It may have stopped you from getting a serious case of it or ending up in the hospital. But it wouldn't stop you from contracting it, and it wouldn't stop you from giving it to someone else,” O’Scanlon says.
Some high school students say it could impact their decision on where they choose to go to college in the future.
“I feel like I wouldn't want to be forced to put something into my body just to go to somewhere,” says high school sophomore Alexander Maravelias.
A Rutgers spokesperson says the university is continuing to work with students who have not yet complied. Those who don’t could be disenrolled. Classes begin on Tuesday.