98% of Rutgers students are vaccinated – but a small group got exemptions


More than 98% of students at Rutgers University have been fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19 with the return to class in less than two weeks, according to university officials.

Rutgers chairman Jonathan Holloway provided an update on immunization data at the university on Wednesday, which in March was among the first in the country to announce that student immunizations would be required for the fall semester.

In his weekly fall planning message to the Rutgers communityHolloway said 99.5% of Rutgers’ 71,000 students had complied with the policy, including 1.2% who requested and received religious or medical exemptions to get the shot.

Rutgers spokesperson Dory Devlin told NJ Advance Media that the university’s tally includes both fully and partially vaccinated students.

Under its policy, Rutgers required that all fall semester students provide full COVID-19 vaccination documentation, or request an exemption, at least two weeks prior to their arrival on campus, but no later than August 1. .

“We continue to work with students to upload their immunization records,” Devlin told NJ Advance Media.

Holloway did not say in his 6 paragraph post if action was taken against those who missed the deadline.

Its update came two days after an organization founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of the late US senator and critic of vaccine requirements for school attendance, filed a federal complaint opposing the mandate. of Rutgers vaccine.

On Tuesday, a petition was reportedly signed by 723 and circulated by three faculty members urging to expand the COVID-19 vaccination rule – which requires health and public safety workers to be vaccinated but only recommends it for other staff and faculty – everyone on campus.

Holloway said voluntary vaccinations by staff members “have increased dramatically over the past week, especially among faculty.”

Of the faculty, Holloway said 97% are either fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or exempt from it.

He added that Rutgers continues to offer walk-in vaccinations in Camden, Newark and Piscataway.

“With so many vaccinations among our population, especially our student body, Rutgers continues to be one of the safest places in New Jersey,” Holloway said.

New Jersey on Wednesday reported 1,258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 other confirmed deaths, with coronavirus hospitalizations in the state exceeding 850 for the third day in a row. However, the state’s seven-day average for newly confirmed positive tests declined for a second day in a row.

“Because we keep security measures in place, including the required face covers indoors, weekly testing for unvaccinated people, and physical distancing in office environments, our faculty members can be confident. in our commitment to their health when they return to their classrooms and offices, ”Holloway said.

The fall semester at Rutgers begins September 1.

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Rob Jennings can be reached at [email protected].

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