Suffolk University will require all students and staff members to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster unless they have a previously approved medical or religious exemption, according to an email sent to the Suffolk community Wednesday.
Students must upload evidence of their booster vaccination to the Student Health Portal by March 1, the email said.
“A booster vaccine requirement is consistent with the University’s decision announced last April requiring employees and students to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus for the fall semester,” President Marisa Kelly wrote in the email
According to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, 96.5% of students and 98.37% of employees are fully vaccinated, yet this number does not reflect fully vaccinated people who have yet to receive a booster six months after their last dose.
As of Dec. 11, the seven-day positivity rate was 1.3% for students and 1.24% for staff, according to the dashboard. Massachusetts’ seven-day positivity as of Dec. 9 was 5.19%.
“An extremely high vaccination rate among our students and employees has directly resulted in very few cases of transmission within our campus spaces and no large-scale outbreaks,” Kelly continued.
The administration hopes that mandating COVID-19 vaccine boosters will continue the trend of a low positivity rate during the spring semester, and having a March 1 deadline may provide extra protection for students who will be traveling during spring break, according to the email.
The decision comes as Boston recorded its first cases of the Omicron variant Monday. The Boston Public Health Commission announced that the three cases found were in young adults, none of whom were fully vaccinated.
Currently, there are 20 positive COVID-19 cases at Suffolk.
“I think it’s an important decision and I’m glad Suffolk has made it. As much as I and every other person want the pandemic to be over, it unfortunately isn’t,” sophomore Juliet Giangregorio said. “Suffolk’s new booster shot requirement definitely gives me some peace of mind.”
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