Largest US colleges push for students to get vaccinated

As the new school year begins, some of the country’s largest colleges are taking various approaches to enforcing vaccine mandates or encouraging students to get vaccinated on their own. 

According to a report from The Associated Press, 26 of the 50 largest American public universities will not require that students be vaccinated to return to campus. 

Most of the universities requiring vaccines were in the Northeast or in California, while schools that did not have mandates were typically in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona that have legal limits on the ability to require vaccines, according to AP. 

At the University of Connecticut, students are required to be vaccinated, according to the school’s website. However, the school has not denied a single exemption request of the 800 that it has received so far regardless of the reason for the request, the AP reported.

Even so, 97 percent of students at the university were vaccinated, according to reports from the school.

The University of Central Florida will not require vaccines as an executive order in Florida prohibits organizations from mandating vaccines. However, in an effort to encourage students to get vaccinated, the school is holding raffles “where vaccinated students have a chance to win textbooks, computers and $5,000 worth of tuition and fee waivers,” the AP reported.

Other colleges are more strict about enforcing vaccine mandates, like the University of Virginia where unvaccinated students who do not apply for a religious exemption have been asked to leave, the AP said. 

Despite this being more strict than comparable policies at other schools, students seem to have no issue with it. 

“I think the consensus among at least everyone I’ve talked to and all of my friends is that we’re glad that everybody is vaccinated or getting vaccinated, because that just brings us one step closer to hopefully being able to return completely to normal,” senior Mallory Griffin said to the AP.

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