Nearly 90 percent of students and employees at Michigan State University (MSU) are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, the university has announced.
MSU spokesperson Dan Olsen said that a total of 4,339 vaccine exemption requests were submitted to the university, out of which 3,138 were approved and 224 denied. According to Lansing State Journal, some 98 have also been denied, but the latter decided to file appeals.
In July this year, MSU introduced the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, requiring all students, faculty, and staff returning to campus this fall to be vaccinated by August 31 with an FDA-authorized or WHO-approved vaccine. Also, the university required students and employees to complete a vaccine verification form, Erudera.com reports.
Olsen said that of 67,000 MSU students, staff, and faculty, a total of 63,365 completed the vaccine verification form as asked by the university, which showed that 89.9 percent were fully vaccinated, 6.3 percent were not vaccinated, and 3.69 partially vaccinated.
“It is very encouraging to see so many of our campus community getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” Olsen added.
The university had asked those who could not manage to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by August 31, 2021, to participate in the Early Detection Program until they are fully vaccinated, as well as to follow the Face Coverings directive.
At Michigan State University, all individuals, including students, staff, faculty, and visitors, are required to wear masks indoors.
“Making sure this school year is a healthy and safe one takes the entire MSU community working together. All students, staff and faculty members are required to be vaccinated. By getting a COVID-19 vaccine, Spartans can protect themselves, each other and our communities. We are all in this together and, together, we will keep campus safe,” the university noted.
According to Olsen, students and staff who are not granted exemptions and refuse to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine requirement will face punishments, meaning that these students may be dismissed while faculty and staff could face termination.
“We know that a vaccination is one of the most incredible influencing factors and one of the few tools we have for creating a safer and healthier learning and working environment and living environment for our campus community,” Olsen told Lansing State Journal.
The number of COVID-19 cases at MSU has dropped since September 6. Meanwhile, since August 1, 522 Coronavirus cases among the university community were reported by the MSU and the Ingham County Health Department.