On Tuesday, April 11, SUNY declared an end to the mandated COVID-19 vaccination policy that has been in place since fall 2021, following President Biden’s decision to end the COVID national emergency the previous day.
The State University of New York website says, “Moving forward, COVID-19 vaccinations will be strongly encouraged for students, which is consistent with other viruses including influenza and mpox. Faculty and staff will also be encouraged to stay up to date on vaccinations.” The policy applies to all 64 campuses across New York State.
Nearly 1.2 million people in the U.S. have lost their lives to the virus and weekly cases for New York are at a total of 94,142, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In New York, 77.5% of 18-25 year olds and 79.8% of 26-35 year olds are vaccinated.
Although the severity of COVID-19 and other variants have lessened with an increase in vaccinations, the SUNY school system and the CDC continue to recommend that high-risk individuals such as people 65 and older and immunocompromised people take the precautions necessary to protect themselves from contraction.
The decision made by SUNY was made with the corroboration of facts from the expansive SUNY Public Health Expert Advisory Committee as well as the State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. McDonald’s statement said, “While it is reassuring to see the progress we’ve made against the COVID-19 pandemic, precautions are still very important to ensure that progress continues … The Department will continue to consult with SUNY administrators as we monitor the data and align recommendations with those issued by the CDC as we transition out of the Public Health Emergency.”
The official COVID-19 Vaccination Policy on suny.edu has yet to be altered to fit the decision made by SUNY this week, still reading, “This policy adopts the State of New York directive that public colleges and universities mandate that all students who intend to engage in-person at a SUNY campus or facility must receive a COVID-19 vaccination, pending final approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This policy describes the COVID-19 Vaccination requirements in place to protect the health and safety of the SUNY campus communities, including its students, faculty, staff and others who engage in-person at any SUNY Facility.”
The decision on the part of the SUNY school system will likely not be a drastic immediate change, as all students currently attending a SUNY are up to date on vaccinations, excluding those with exemptions.