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UB student vaccination requirement takes effect Monday

With FDA approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, students will have a week to get their first dose of the vaccine if they haven't already.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Students at the University of Buffalo have one week to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they haven't done so already.

The University at Buffalo's student vaccine requirement goes into effect following the Food and Drug Administration's announcement on Monday to grant full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The university announced in July that students who want to attend in-person classes would need to get a COVID-19 vaccine to attend in-person classes following FDA approval of a vaccine. 

Students will have five weeks to become fully vaccinated following their first dose. Students who do not complete this requirement will be resigned from their in-person classes. 

“FDA approval of the vaccine is great news for the UB community,” said Brian Hamluk, vice president for student life. “While our records show a high rate of vaccination on campus among students, we think this will encourage some of those students who have been waiting for FDA approval to finally get vaccinated.”

The vaccine requirement goes into effect on Monday and applies to any student attending in-person classes or participating in on-campus activities at UB. 

Even though the Pfizer vaccine is the only approved vaccine, UB will accept proof of any of the vaccines the FDA authorized for emergency approval, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Students who fail to meet the requirement will be assigned an "R" grade and will still be financially responsible for their courses unless they drop or resign from the courses prior to the deadline. 

“We cannot stress enough that UB’s vaccination mandate is a strict policy with serious repercussions if not followed,” Hamluk said.

Some students have been able to secure an exemption to the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students who are seeking approval of an exemption will not be allowed on campus while their request is being reviewed. 

School starts on Aug. 30, and UB officials expect a safe return to campus because of the large percent of vaccinated students and other safety precautions put in place, like mask-wearing indoors. As of Monday, 27,140 students have provided proof of full vaccination. 

Students living in university residence halls and apartments were required to be vaccinated prior to FDA approval, and nearly all of the 6,800 students report they are fully vaccinated.

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