University reverses latest vaccine requirement
University Health Services announced an important update to Notre Dame’s COVID-19 vaccination policy on April 11: The university is lifting her mandate of the bivalent booster vaccine.
The email announcement from University Health Services (UHS) declared that, “Effective immediately, the University of Notre Dame will no longer require undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to receive the COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccine as a condition of enrollment for the 2023-24 academic year.”
The email explains that the new decision about the bivalent booster requirement was based on “the latest medical information” and is at the behest of “various university stakeholders.” Last updated on April 13, the CDC website currently recommends “a COVID-19 vaccine primary series” and “the most recent booster dose recommended for you by CDC.”
The Rover reached out to the Office of the President for further comment on the change of policy, but was told the following: “The message sent yesterday to students presents the university’s position. Beyond that, we have nothing to add.” UHS similarly did not respond to requests for comment.
Tyler Castle, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science, is thankful for the change and told the Rover: “I’m glad they finally made this decision. Considering the current status of the pandemic, the latest research on boosters, and the moral considerations, it was clearly the right thing to do.”
Some students feel that rescinding the mandate was not enough. Sophomore Nathan Desautels, president of Young Americans for Freedom of Notre Dame, told the Rover: “The removal of this mandate is yet another example of too little too late from this university … Revoking [the mandate] now, after students with doubts have potentially been forced to violate their consciences, is a slap in the face.”
Castle shares this concern and finds the university’s explanation suspect: “It is frustrating that they waited until after their arbitrarily-timed deadline to do this. It’s hard to believe the administration gathered any new information in the last month that caused them to make this about face.
“If they’ve been planning to lift the mandate, they should have done so before they forced students to receive the booster.”
Notre Dame’s policy remains that students will still be required to receive the initial vaccine series and booster or obtain an exemption, as UHS wishes to remain “consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
Aedan Whalen is a freshman in the Program of Liberal Studies and political science. He loves pizza, music, and common-good conservatism. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Spencer B. Davis Wikimedia Commons
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