With the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on campus looming, some students at the University of Memphis are content with the school requiring everyone to get their shots.
The university’s president, Dr. David Rudd, sent a letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Aug. 30, urging him to review state law and work with health officials to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required immunizations for state universities.
“I believe this is warranted to protect the health and well-being of all on college and university campuses across Tennessee,” Rudd wrote in his letter.
After the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, the ongoing battle in the state legislature over requiring immunization on college campuses has intensified.
Current state law prohibits any government entity from requiring a person be vaccinated against COVID-19 for entry onto premises or use of services.
For full-time college students, however, immunization against other diseases has been required for some time.
The state’s current list of mandated vaccinations requires them to be immunized against diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, meningococcal and hepatitis B, to name a few.
Some students and faculty members are eager to see that law changed and a COVID-19 vaccine mandate implemented due to the recent spikes in cases and the emergence of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“I’m very much ok with the idea of a vaccine mandate on campus,” said Christiana Flores, a student at the university, “because COVID is spreading a lot faster than it was before, and it’s mutating constantly and we have to keep up with that.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Shelby County recorded its highest ever single-day count of new confirmed cases at 1,295.
This is the fourth day within the past month that the county has seen single-day case counts over one thousand.
Even though it is only the third week of the semester, cases have also risen on campus.
Another student, Sarah LeReau, said that she’s already had to miss classes trying to remain cautious of the spread of COVID-19.
She also said that she was confused by opponents of the potential vaccine mandate on campus.
“I’m confused at what feels like inconsistent rules and society’s memories about immunization records,” said Sarah LeReau, a student at the university.
“Last fall, when I enrolled at the U of M, I had to get an antibodies test to prove I had chicken pox as a child.”
While vaccines are not yet required on campus, COVID-19 vaccinations are offered on the first floor of the UC every Thursday.