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FDA approval secured; University to require student COVID-19 vaccinations

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The University of Louisiana System will require students enrolled in its nine members institutions be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The system previously said it would request that the Louisiana Department of Health add the vaccine to the schedule of required immunizations for students once approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA announced full approval of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, and LDH granted the system’s request shortly after.

“The FDA’s approval has long been the standard for pharmaceutical safety and efficacy, and I hope the agency’s endorsement will reassure those of you who have yet to be vaccinated to do so,” wrote Dr. Joseph Savoie in a message to campus community on Monday.

UL Lafayette’s president said protocols for reporting vaccination status to the University have been in place for many years. Similar to all other immunizations on the schedule, students will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a physician’s certification that the vaccine is medically contraindicated, or a written dissent.

The University will release more information about these steps in the coming days, Savoie added. 

“In the meantime, I want to strongly encourage you again to protect yourselves and your family and friends by being vaccinated.”

UL Lafayette, in collaboration with the Louisiana National Guard and LDH, is offering a free, walk-in vaccination and testing clinic in Burke-Hawthorne Hall from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Students who receive their first or second vaccine dose on campus qualify for a bank card as part of the state’s “Shot for $100” incentive program. Those who have received both doses can win prizes by entering the University’s “Don’t Wait. Vaccinate!” campaign. Find more about the programs here.

“Our return to normalcy depends on minimizing the impact COVID-19 continues to have,” Savoie wrote. “Protecting our wider community requires that each of us does our part.”

Read the president’s full message to the University community here.

Photo caption: A member of the Louisiana National Guard administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a UL Lafayette student at the campus’ testing and vaccination center last week in Burke-Hawthorne Hall. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)