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Gov. Edwards to mandate COVID vaccine for university students and faculty once fully approved by FDA

LSU announces new rules instead of requiring vaccination
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 11:06 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards expects LDH to put the COVID-19 vaccine on the mandated list of vaccines for university students and staff, once fully approved by the FDA.

Full FDA approval can happen as early as September, but in the meantime, LSU will require students to either show that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to monthly testing.

“We’ve decided on the protocols for the fall that will keep our classroom and instruction environment safe and allow for maximum engagement in a traditional residential environment like a university,” LSU President, William F. Tate said.

While health leaders still push for vaccination over anything, regular testing of the unvaccinated can still help.

“It’s certainly better than nothing in that we can catch cases early,” Dr. Benjamin Springgate, LSU Health Chief of Community & Population Medicine said. “That means we have a greater likelihood of it not spreading inside of a university or a state building or a school.”

Just 30% of LSU’s students are vaccinated, an accurate snapshot of where that age group falls right now.

Across the state and across the country, 18 to 29-year-olds not only lag in terms of vaccinations but also represent a majority of the caseload.

“More and more young people, if you speak to our infectious disease experts, our hospitals, our pulmonary doctors, are ending up in the hospital and so we want to make sure that we are prioritizing getting shots in the arms of everyone who’s eligible for the vaccine and particularly for those people who think that, gosh, maybe in the beginning of the pandemic, my age group wasn’t being affected, it’s time to realize that everyone is being affected,” Springgate said.

Universities in our area like Tulane, Xavier, Loyola, and Dillard are already requiring students to be vaccinated to return in the fall, while others wait for full FDA approval, which could be right around the corner.

“I think that opens up the doors for vaccine mandates among employees, and universities in a variety of settings across the state,” Springgate said. “I think it will help provide some assurance to people that the FDA determines that this is not just for emergency use but this is something that everyone can use.”

LSU is also requiring everyone on campus to wear a mask indoors, except for when a person is alone in their office.

The University also updated its protocols to require masks within 50 feet of buildings.

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