Are college vaccine mandates necessary or a step too far?

“In order to get herd immunity, we need to get a maximum number of people possible vaccinated.”

Gabriela Bhaskar
A worker stands behind a plastic protective barrier to check-in people receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a CVS Pharmacy location in Eastchester, N.Y., on Feb. 12, 2021. Bloomberg photo by Gabriela Bhaskar

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The spring semester may be coming to a close, but Boston’s colleges are already making plans for a new school year in a hopefully post-COVID world. For many universities, part of those plans include a fully vaccinated campus.

Last month, Northeastern University announced that it will return to life as usual in the fall with full-time, in-person learning so all students need to be fully vaccinated against the virus if they plan to return to campus in September. Since then Boston College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Emerson College, Boston University, and more have all followed suit. They say these requirements are necessary to keep the community, both on and off campus, safe.


Boston University is even taking steps to ensure that happens by offering several thousand doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to students, faculty, and staff who haven’t yet received their first shot. Northeastern has left room for medical and religious exemptions, but for everyone else the mandate is fairly straightforward: get the shot and provide the proof.

“In order to get herd immunity, we need to get a maximum number of people possible vaccinated,” said Ken Henderson, chancellor and senior vice president for learning at Northeastern in a statement. “If all, or nearly all of our students are vaccinated, we expect that we’ll be able to achieve herd immunity.”


Massachusetts has the lowest rates of vaccine hesitancy in the country, according to the CDC, so this may come as good news for Bostonians concerned about what thousands of new students might mean for herd immunity in the city. But there are still those among us who are still skeptical of vaccination mandates, particularly at some of the biggest institutions in the city.

We want to know how you feel about this current trend of vaccination mandates. Are these universities doing their part to keep our city safe or are they overstepping their bounds? Let us know in the survey below or e-mail [email protected], and we’ll feature your responses in a future article.


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