Some universities in Memphis are mandating vaccines for students. Will others follow, too?


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the FDA giving Pfizer full approval for its vaccine Monday as colleges and universities head back to class, will more schools mandate the vaccine? 

Students returned to University of Memphis campuses Monday and right now, students at the U of M do not have to be vaccinated. The university has said it’s offering vaccines on campus to try and increase vaccination rates.

But other universities in the Mid-South have a different approach. 

At LeMoyne-Owen College, vaccines are required. This comes as cases rise and students hope to have a normal year.

A spokesperson said, in part, “This decision comes with careful consideration and the health and safety of our LOC family as a priority. We will provide additional support and resources through hybrid learning for students who cannot or choose not to receive the vaccine.” 

A spokesperson with the University of Tennessee said the university system will not mandate the vaccine for “a variety of reasons” but they encourage students and staff to receive it as soon as they are eligible. 

Earlier this month Rhodes College announced vaccines would be mandatory, citing public health conditions due to the Delta variant. 

Students and staff have until Sept. 30 to complete their vaccine series, if they don’t have medical or religious exemptions.

Initially, Rhodes planned to charge a $1,500 health and safety fee to cover testing of nonvaccinated students without exemption. But with the new mandate in place, unvaccinated students without cleared exemptions will not be allowed on campus. 

Those attending Christian Brothers University must also be vaccinated. The University’s president says the decision comes from following the science.

“What we’re seeing is that the vaccine protects not only the individual receiving it but also their families, their neighbors and others with whom they come into contact,” said CBU President Jack Shannon.

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