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Could Louisiana universities require students to get the COVID vaccine?

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La.
Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La.(WAFB)
Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 10:58 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Could colleges and universities force students to get the COVID vaccine? It’s an ongoing discussion after Rutgers in New Jersey became the first major university in the country to make it a requirement to enroll for the fall semester.

Both LSU and Southern University officials said a decision has not been made.

“We’re looking at this issue. There’s a lot of talks in the state legislature because this is a broader question than just LSU,” said Jake Palmer, LSU’s Manager of Emergency Operations.

Students WAFB-TV spoke to at LSU wouldn’t oppose the idea.

“I think so. I think it’s necessary,” said Armon Amos. “Universities are very populated with this stuff. So, if people are around doing whatever I think they should be vaccinated.”

However, making the COVID vaccine mandatory is a complex issue. Current Louisiana law only requires students to be vaccinated against four diseases. This includes measles, mumps, rubella and tetanus-diphtheria.

“Even with some of the other vaccines that are already required, there’s always things such as religious and health issues that kind of wavers others from not getting it,” said Palmer.

There are state lawmakers who don’t think a COVID shot should be mandatory. Rep. Danny McCormick (R) proposed HB103 that would make all public and private spaces responsible for any damages if they require a vaccine for entry. He also filed HB49 last September that would keep COVID vaccinations a personal choice.

Palmer said they will continue to discuss the possibility while encouraging people who are comfortable to get the vaccine.

“So, it’s not as easy as just saying we’re going to mandate this and have it going forward. That’s why we’ve gone the educational piece to explain to people what the vaccine can and cannot do and what it means once you’ve been vaccinated,” said Palmer.

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