NEW ORLEANS — Students at the University of New Orleans will need to show proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the Spring semester after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine is being added to the list of other required immunizations for college students at UNO and the other University of Louisiana System.
"As was explained in my August 2 message to students, the University of Louisiana System, of which UNO is a member, had previously requested that the Louisiana Department of Health, upon full approval by the FDA, add COVID-19 to the schedule of required immunizations for students at UNO and other UL System institutions. LDH granted that request," said UNO President John Nicklow.
Nicklow said there are two options for students who either can't or don't want to be vaccinated.
Students would need to provide either documentation from a physician of a medical condition that would prevent a vaccination or a written dissent, which is a policy with any state-required vaccination.
The Louisiana Department of Health states that requirements can be waived for "medical or religious/philosophical reasons."
There is no specific wording on what would constitute an acceptable "religious/philosophical reason."
"The prevailing science tells us our return to normalcy depends on minimizing the impact of COVID-19 in our communities," said Nicklow in his letter to students. "The available vaccines help to prevent infection, reduce the spread of the virus and provide remarkable protection against severe disease, which will ease the strain on our healthcare infrastructure. To date, hundreds of millions of doses of the current COVID-19 vaccines have been administered and have proven to be safe and effective. The University will follow up with an email indicating how you can provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, documentation of medical contraindication or written dissent to the required vaccine schedule.
"Again, I strongly encourage all students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Students who get vaccinated at the UNO Lakefront Arena will receive a $100 gift card through the Louisiana Department of Health. Simply show your student ID when you arrive."