MSU drops COVID-19 vaccinations and booster mandate – Lansing State Journal

EAST LANSING – Michigan State University is dropping a COVID-19 vaccine and booster mandate for students and staff a little more than a year after introducing the requirement at the height of the pandemic.
MSU officials announced Tuesday that students and staff will no longer be required to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters in order to study and work at the East Lansing campus.
University Physician Michael Brown, in a communication, said MSU was dropping the mandates due to the “widespread protection” as more and more people have become vaccinated and as more treatment options are now more widely available.
“Thus, as the pandemic continues to shift from an acute public health crisis to a personal health responsibility, MSU no longer will require the COVID-19 vaccination for students, staff and faculty, effective today,” Brown said in the communication. “There still may be limited situations in which professional students and employees must be vaccinated due to the requirements of the hospitals and health care facilities where they work and study.”
The initial mandate required students and staff to be fully vaccinated before Aug. 31, 2021, and returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester. MSU officials began requiring MSU students and staff receive at least one COVID-19 booster shot, in addition to the vaccine, in January 2022.
While they are no longer mandated, MSU officials continue to strongly encourage students and staff to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots, MSU spokesperson Dan Olsen said.
The COVID-19 vaccination and booster mandates proved controversial as students who failed to receive the vaccinations were suspended or barred from enrolling and staff were fired. As of May 2022, MSU had fired 28 permanent employees for failing to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Olsen. He did not immediately have an updated number of staff terminations resulting from their failure to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
MSU suspended 88 students during the fall 2021 semester before changing disciplinary measures from suspensions to barring unvaccinated students from enrolling at MSU the following semester, Olsen said.
MSU remains involved in an ongoing lawsuit filed by the New Civil Liberties Alliance against the university on behalf of one current MSU employee and two others who were fired for refusing to get vaccinated. They argue that MSU should have included natural immunity to COVID-19 in the list of exemptions to the vaccination and booster mandate.
MSU has awarded some medical and religious exemptions.
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