U Adds COVID-19 to List of Required Vaccinations


Jack Gambassi

Students, Diana Fierro and Kinzey Brice tabling at the U of U get involved fair to distribute information about the COVID-19 Vaccine on Sept. 3, 2021 in front of the A. Ray Olpin Union building in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Natalie Colby and Kayleigh Silverstein


Following the FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and student pressure, the University of Utah will now require students to be fully vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella and now COVID-19. 

Announced officially on Aug. 28, the U will join Utah State University in this move. 

Student-run organization, UnsafeU, started a petition asking the U to require the vaccine, which amassed over 1,000 signatures before the announcement was made. 

U students, staff and community members signed this petition saying the U has an “ethical responsibility” to take action especially with the delta variant and Intermountain Healthcare ICU beds being at 99% capacity as of Aug. 20. 

Unsafe U declined a request to comment. 

The Utah State Board of Higher Education also issued a letter on Aug. 27 encouraging this action.

“Expanding COVID-19 vaccinations among college populations will allow us to keep campuses open for in-person instruction, provide a safer environment for the campus community, and help ensure that our state’s economy remains open and vibrant in the months ahead,” the letter read. 

Following the announcement, the U College Republicans pushed back on the decision. 

“Our organization believes that the individual should have the right to make an informed decision, and whether or not that he or she or whatever needs or wants a vaccination,” said Tyler Boyles, president of the U College Republicans. 

He said their organization is not against vaccinations, just against the U making that decision for others. Additionally, he said they do not want a blanket mandate but rather an opportunity for students to get an exemption. 

U Communications Specialist Morgan Aguilar said vaccinations and masks are the best tools to protect the community against COVID-19, so the U decided to mandate vaccinations to keep people on campus doing the events they “all love together.” 

Students have until Sept. 30 to either get vaccinated or get an exemption approved otherwise a hold will be placed on their account preventing their ability to register for the Spring 2022 semester. 

“We know for sure that there are past passionate opinions on all sides of this,” Aguilar said. “We always welcome feedback from all sides, and we are going to continue to encourage everyone to do what they can to stay safe and stay healthy so that everyone in the community benefits from these in-person, exceptional college experiences that we all hope for.” 

According to Aguilar, around 70% of students and 80% of staff are already vaccinated. 

To be compliant with the vaccine requirement students must either provide proof of vaccination or indicate an exemption for medical, religious or personal reasons. 

If a student has received all doses of their vaccine in Utah, their compliance may be able to be automatically confirmed. 

If not able to be automatically confirmed, students should expect further communication in their email about how to certify their compliance with the new requirement.

To get vaccinated, students can go to the COVID-19 vaccine clinics on campus or make an appointment with the Student Health Center.


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