On August 23, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an announcement that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine had been approved for use for individuals 16 years of age and older to help with the prevention of the COVID-19 disease.
This empowers more colleges, universities and higher education institutions to enact COVID-19 vaccine mandates – and college students are supporting their actions.
Vaccine requirements in higher education
While hundreds of higher education institutions began mandating the COVID-19 vaccines for faculty, staff and students over the past year while vaccines were still operating under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), others were hesitant to initiate requirements prior to full FDA approval.
Within moments of the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, many more campuses joined the growing list of schools to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.
Most higher education facilities require vaccinations prior to attending class. The COVID-19 vaccinations will simply be added to other FDA-approved vaccinations that are mandated, such as tuberculosis and hepatitis B.
It’s not just for staff and students
After the full FDA approval, higher learning institutions also expanded their vaccination mandates well beyond staff and students. They are interested in protecting the entire campus and all facilities.
The mandates are different at every school, but many have extended it to extra-curricular activities as well. Schools are announcing that they will require proof of vaccination (or a negative COVID-19 test) for anyone older than 12 years to attend campus events. This includes football games, rallies, and events open to the community.
Mandates are important as Delta spreads
With so many heated discussions about companies, communities, governments and businesses mandating masks and/or vaccines, it’s interesting that higher-education students are predominantly in favor of these mandates on campus.
The student support has also continued to surge as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads.
The Delta variant is considered a “hypertransmissible” variant. It has a higher contagion rate, spreading 2-3 times faster than the original version, and often causes more severe symptoms.
The variant grows more rapidly inside one’s respiratory tracts and to much higher levels. The Delta variant has also caused more “breakthrough” cases and it’s causing vaccinated communities to not only experience symptoms, but also contribute to the viral spread of the variant.
Students overwhelmingly support mask and vaccine mandates
Surveys and studies are showing that most college students support vaccine mandates and remain wary of resuming normal campus life at this time.
One poll by Axios and Generation Lab found that 73 percent of students want their institution to mandate vaccines on campus.
The Axios poll also found that:
- 55% of students considered indoor parties, dancing with others, and close conversations without masks to be unsafe activities
- 60% want more stringent restrictions on large social gatherings
- 86% say they are fully vaccinated and feel safer when others in their circle are vaccinated as well
In a separate survey of college students by TimelyMD, they found that:
- 70% of students enrolled at institutions that do not have mask mandates in place said they plan to wear a face mask on campus anyway
- 55% wish their campuses would issue mandates that require masks and/or COVID-19 vaccines
- Students who attend institutions with mask and vaccine mandates overwhelmingly support these protective measures
- 87% for mask mandates
- 85% for vaccine mandates
The debate between individuals, governments, communities and higher-education facilities continues to ignite heated conversations. But it looks like many colleges and universities are siding with their students and implementing mandates and safety protocols that support their overall well-being.
Flagship's customizable approach to your higher-education facility's needs will help you protect the health and safety of your staff and students so you can operate responsibly.
We have experienced and professional teams ready to help support your facilities’ staff and your integrated facilities management needs. If you have any questions, please email a facilities expert and get the help you need to create and maintain a healthy facility while navigating these unchartered times.