Almost a month after announcing the intent to return for a normal fall semester, Northeastern announced a COVID-19 vaccination requirement. All students must receive the vaccination by the first day of classes Sept. 8.
“As the speed of vaccinations and the vaccine supply increases, we expect that vaccines will be widely available in all of the countries where Northeastern maintains campuses by the time in-person classes resume in the fall,” wrote Ken Henderson, the chancellor and senior vice president for learning, in an April 6 email.
Students can request religious and medical exemptions to the policy and will be required to show proof of vaccination. Details on these processes will be announced at a later date, according to the email.
“As we plan for a return to in-person classes and regular campus activities, we know that achieving herd immunity is crucial for the safety of our entire community,” the email read. “This vaccination requirement is the next step to ‘Protect the Pack’ so we can continue to study, learn, and research side by side.”
This vaccination requirement will be added to the vaccinations historically required by the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Northeastern students are required to submit proof of immunizations against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap), hepatitis B, varicella/chicken pox and meningitis.
This announcement comes as eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone over the age of 16 in the United States approaches quickly. Nationally, President Joe Biden is expected to announce April 6 that the eligibility date for the general public is April 19, in line with Massachusetts’ plan.
Students are encouraged to pre-register for vaccine appointments through the state, regardless of current eligibility. According to the email, Northeastern will assist international students who may have limited access to the vaccine in getting a vaccine soon after their arrival.
In early January, Northeastern started vaccinating members of its community, but, at the state’s direction, stopped distribution due to limited federal supply.
As of April 6, Massachusetts has distributed more than 3.9 million doses in the state, with an average of more than 57,000 doses being administered a day. There are an estimated 35,167 active COVID-19 cases in the state, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Northeastern has seen an increase in positive tests over the past two weeks, and there are 194 students in isolation and 102 in quarantine as of April 6. The seven-day positive test rate in the Northeastern community is 0.33%.