Come fall, Vanderbilt University and Maryville College are requiring students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 – even if the vaccine isn’t fully approved by the FDA. Maryville College was the first to announce a mandate of that nature in this state, issuing their press release late last month. Vanderbilt University issued their announcement on Monday.
Maryville College is the more lenient of the two Tennessee colleges in their mandate: they will allow exceptions for personal preference in addition to medical or religious reasons. The news release didn’t mention an accommodation request deadline. Vanderbilt University made no mention of personal preference-based exceptions – only medical and religious exemptions will be accepted. Their deadline for an accommodation request is June 15.
The former college has picked up on the growing trend offering incentives for vaccinations. Maryville College will enter all students who receive the vaccine before June 30 in a drawing for $250 vouchers to the campus bookstore. As The Tennessee Star reported, major companies and cities have begun to offer incentives in exchange for vaccinations. Most recently, Nashville Mayor John Cooper launched a campaign to award vaccinated individuals a free beer or coffee from just under 40 Nashville businesses.
Vanderbilt University didn’t announce any incentives for the vaccine mandate.
The vaccine is currently allowed by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only. Accordingly, this status means that governmental entities can’t mandate the vaccine.
Currently, there are over 220 colleges and universities mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. Some campuses made it clear that they will only mandate the vaccine once it receives full FDA approval, such as: California State University, the University of California system, the Colorado State University system, University of Hawaii, City University of New York, and the State University of New York.
The Star inquired with both colleges about how their administration had arrived at its decision to mandate an EUA vaccine. None of the spokespersons with Vanderbilt University or Maryville College responded by press time.
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