Published July 29, 2021
More than 21,000 UB students have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and those numbers are growing daily.
“Students are continuing to upload their vaccine records to us and we’re processing hundreds each day,” says Susan Snyder, director of student health services. “I’m happy that we’re seeing that level of activity. That to me is encouraging, given where we need to be in about a month.”
SUNY is requiring that all students be vaccinated to attend classes in person in the fall, pending final approval of the vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration. President Biden last week suggested that FDA authorization could come in September or October, but also as early as the end of August.
UB has been keeping a close eye on vaccination numbers heading into August, and as of this week had recorded more than 20,600 students who provided proof that they were fully vaccinated. Another 1,100 reported receiving their first dose in the series.
“We’re still in what we consider summer, so what that database includes is anyone who is registered for any of the summer sessions, anyone who is registered for at least one credit in the fall, and then in order to process new student immunizations, we bring in our intended fall students as well,” Snyder explains.
Snyder suspects students who have yet to be vaccinated are international students still finishing the series before returning to UB from their home country; the small percentage seeking medical or religious exemptions; and those awaiting FDA approval before getting the vaccine.
While vaccination numbers have been trending in the right direction for UB as it prepares for a more normal campus life amid the pandemic, Snyder urges students who still need to be vaccinated not to delay.
“There are people waiting for that FDA stamp of approval and it’s important to them,” she says. “But I would really encourage people to recognize that the vaccine has been given to millions of people and it has been deemed safe and effective by infectious disease specialists all over the U.S. So, for your individual protection, I would ask that people not wait.”
A copy of the vaccination card should be submitted to Student Health Services, preferably online.
Snyder also reminds students that those living in university housing in the fall are required to be vaccinated, even before there’s FDA approval. SUNY gave campuses the authority to impose additional conditions in cases of high-risk populations.
“It really came down to the idea that we’re asking students to live in congregate housing,” she says. “That is in and of itself a high-risk environment for contagious illness. We felt like the way to add a layer of protection to those who are living with us is to require the vaccine.”