WOODLAND PARK, N.J. — Rutgers University officials announced Thursday that all students who take on-campus classes in the fall will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 — apparently the first mandate of its kind in the nation —while faculty and staff members are “strongly urged” to get one of the available vaccines.
A national organization that advocates for the health of college students said it was not aware of any other schools that require COVID vaccinations currently.
“While we know it has been a topic of discussion among campus decision-makers, at this point in time, we are not aware of any other colleges or universities that are mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for students,” Rachel Mack, a spokeswoman for the organization, the American College Health Association, said in an email.
Rutgers already requires other kinds of vaccinations, including for measles, mumps and rubella, according to its website.
It has been difficult to to receive the COVID vaccines in New Jersey, which still limits vaccinations to those who are at least 65 years old or who have a preexisting condition, such as asthma or diabetes, as well as smokers. But state officials have said they expect to get additional supplies and ramp up vaccinations in the next few weeks, and federal officials have said they anticipate vaccines to be available to all Americans by the end of May.
“We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to…