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Weber State to require vaccines for students by spring semester

Exemptions available for religious, medical and personal reasons

By Harrison Epstein - | Aug 27, 2021

Harrison Epstein, Standard Examiner

People walk on Weber State University's campus on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The fall semester begins on Monday. (Harrison Epstein, Standard Examiner)

OGDEN — Weber State University joined the University of Utah and Utah State on Friday in requiring a vaccine for students by the spring 2022 semester.

The decision comes after a meeting Thursday by university presidents and the Utah System of Higher Education. They discussed options for a requirement in light of the Food and Drugs Administration giving full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement, the university said, “Weber State will work on a vaccination requirement to be implemented this fall that will require students to be vaccinated prior to spring semester. As a USHE institution, we want to do our part to help the state combat increasing rates of infection and hospitalization.”

On Friday, the state of Utah reported 1,286 new COVID-19 cases, with unvaccinated people reportedly five times more at risk of dying from the virus than the vaccinated and more than six times more likely of being hospitalized.

Over 150 members of the Weber State faculty signed on to a petition arguing for a vaccine requirement which, as of Friday evening, had over 2,200 signatories across the state.

Students can be exempt from the requirement for “religious, medical and personal reasons.”

According to Weber State President Brad Mortensen, the meeting included discussions about how and when to implement the requirement.

“Do you start it in November for spring semester? OK, but how does that help us with our crisis right now as the delta variant cases increase,” Mortensen told the Standard-Examiner on Thursday.

Classes begin for the fall semester on Monday.

“Details about the requirement — and the process — will be shared with students, staff and faculty next week,” Friday’s statement from the school read.

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