Rutgers University will require all students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ahead of its Fall 2021 semester.
In a letter to the community, Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway said the decision follows President Joe Biden's announcement that he expects all adults to have access to at least one dose by early summer.
"The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination include prevention of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect our University community," Holloway wrote. "The anticipated additional availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is enabling Rutgers to take steps to protect the health of our academic community and to move toward a full return to our pre-pandemic normal as a vibrant institution in Fall 2021."
Students enrolled in fully online courses, without access to on-campus facilities, will not have to prove vaccination. In addition, students can request an exemption from the vaccine for medical or religious reasons.
With Thursday's announcement, New Jersey's largest public college becomes one of the first institutions in the country to announce it will require COVID-19 immunizations. Rutgers already requires students to have several different vaccinations before enrolling.
“An effective vaccination program is a continuation of Rutgers’ commitment to health and safety for all members of our community of more than 71,000 students, the cities we are in and the communities we serve throughout New Jersey,” Antonio Calcado, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Rutgers, said in a release.
President Biden has called on all states to open up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1. On Thursday, the president said his administration is now aiming to administer 200 million doses within its first 100 days.