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For now, SUNY will not require COVID vaccinations for fall semester

Chancellor Jim Malatras said on 2 On Your Side’s Town Hall newscast that the issue will be re-evaluated in the coming months.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The State University of New York, which has nearly 1.3 million students on dozens of campuses, does not currently plan to require vaccinations come the fall.

But the chancellor said on 2 On Your Side’s Town Hall newscast Wednesday evening that the issue will be re-evaluated in the coming months.

“We think we’re going to be able to get most of our students vaccinated without a mandatory vaccine program, but we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it,” Chancellor Jim Malatras said.

“By the summertime, if we feel like there’s not enough students getting vaccinated, we’ll talk to our Board of Trustees, we’ll talk to our campus leadership, and we’ll talk about potentially doing a mandatory vaccine program. But right now, what our students are saying is, you don’t have to mandate it.”

Malatras appeared on the show to talk about SUNY’s new program to vaccinate thousands of residential students on SUNY campuses with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine before they leave for the summer break.

SUNY has already received 18,600 Johnson & Johnson doses and hopes to get more in the coming weeks.

"Over the past year, our students have faced and overcome enormous challenges in dealing with the impacts of this devastating pandemic," SUNY trustee Eric Corngold said in a statement. "From remote learning, to weekly COVID testing and adhering to the safety protocols on campuses, our SUNY students rose to the occasion and did their part to protect each other and their entire campus communities.

"Now, we must do all we can to continue to ensure their safety by delivering the vaccine doses they need before they return home at the end of this semester to bring us all closer to defeating this virus once and for all.”