The University of Richmond required all students, faculty and staff to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 8, according to an email sent on Aug. 24 by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer David Hale, Executive Vice President and Provost Jeffrey Legro and Vice President and General Counsel Shannon Sinclair.
The decision to require vaccinations for students, faculty and staff came in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granting full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for persons ages 16 or older, according to the email.
UR announced its intent to require vaccinations once a COVID-19 vaccine received full FDA approval in an email sent on June 10 by Hale, Legro and Sinclair
“Members of our community who are not vaccinated and who have not received an exemption are now required to get their first dose of vaccine by Sept. 8 and, for two-dose vaccines, to obtain their second dose within the specified time period for that vaccine,” Hale, Legro and Sinclair wrote.
UR students, faculty and staff may choose from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is FDA-approved, or the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which remain subject to FDA emergency use authorization to meet UR’s requirement, according to the email.
International students who have received a vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization have met the vaccine requirement, they wrote.
The vaccination requirement is subject to religious and medical exemptions, according to a June 10 email from Hale, Legro and Sinclair. UR has also allowed for personal conviction exemptions, Hale said in an Aug. 30 interview with The Collegian.
“These exemptions are few and far between,” he said, noting the high vaccination rates on campus.
As of Sept. 9, 95.5% of students and 92.2% of full-time UR faculty and staff who have reported their vaccination status are fully vaccinated, according to UR's COVID-19 dashboard.
UR implemented the vaccination requirement mainly based upon the vaccination data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health, Hale said.
“The data is very strong, according to the CDC and Virginia Department of Health, that the vaccine helps prevent severe disease if someone is vaccinated and becomes infected,” Hale said.
UR officials are grateful for the positive community response to receiving the vaccine, he noted.
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UR students who failed to report their vaccination status by Sept. 8 will be subject to the student conduct process, Hale said. Likewise, UR faculty members who fail to report their vaccinations will be subject to a disciplinary process, he said.
UR will be holding an on-campus vaccination clinic on Sept. 30 to offer the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to those who received their first dose on Aug. 26 at UR’s vaccination clinic, Hale said.
“Depending on interest and need, we would be open to hosting more vaccine clinics,” Hale said.
In addition to a vaccination requirement, UR has implemented a temporary indoor mask mandate in all campus buildings through Oct. 8, according to Sept. 8 email to the campus community from Hale, Legro and Sinclair. The mask mandate is required regardless of vaccination status, according to the email.
Contact news writer Caitlin O'Hare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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