Rutgers University students will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by the time they start classes in the fall, school officials announced Thursday.
The New Jersey college is believed to be the first in the nation to make the shot a prerequisite for attending classes.
“We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students,” Rutgers president Jonathan Holloway said in a statement.
Students will be able to request an exemption for medical or religious reasons, the university said.
Those who are enrolled in fully remote degree programs or online-only continuing education programs will not need to get the shot either.
The new mandate means that students under the age of 18 will be required to get the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only one currently approved for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines are only allowed for those 18 and older.
The university has received approval from the state to administer vaccines on campus to faculty, staff and students once supplies are available.
“Vaccination is key to stopping the current pandemic and to the return of campus instruction and activities closer to what we were accustomed to before the pandemic drastically changed life at Rutgers,” said Brian Strom, the college’s executive vice president for health affairs.
“We urge all members of our community to pre-register for the vaccine on the state COVID-19 website to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity and the first available location,” he added.
The new mandate comes after President Biden called on states to make the vaccine available to all adult Americans by May 1.