Many colleges and universities around the U.S. have begun announcing requirements for students and staff to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they plan on returning to campuses in 2022.
The expansion of college vaccine policies come as the Omicron variant has begun spreading across the U.S. Several colleges in the New York Tri-State Area—where Omicron is spreading at a faster rate than anywhere else in the U.S.—are implementing the booster requirement.
New York University, Fordham University, which are both in New York City, have announced booster requirements for the upcoming semester. Princeton University in New Jersey, Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and Syracuse University in Upstate New York have also introduced booster mandates for their students and staff.
At least eight schools in Massachusetts, including UMass Amherst, Boston College, Harvard University, and Northeastern University have put a booster requirement in place for the Spring semester, according to CBS Boston.
The Northeast is not the only place where colleges are expanding vaccine mandates.
In a letter on Friday, the president of Michigan State University, Samuel Stanley, said that to “allow for continued in-person learning and experiences” the school would be expanding its vaccine requirement to include the COVID-19 booster dose. He said the the requirement would take effect at the beginning of the spring 2022 semester.
“As many of you know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month strengthened its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations and is now strongly recommending that everyone 16 and older receive a booster shot,” Stanley wrote.
“This guidance, coupled with the fact that the Omicron variant has been found in Michigan and is likely at MSU, has led me to this decision,” he added.
In California, schools including San Diego State University and Stanford University have introduced booster requirements for students who plan on returning to campus.
In a letter on Wednesday, administrators at Loyola University in Chicago said that students, faculty and staff would be required to receive a booster shot “as soon as they are eligible.”
“While the COVID-19 vaccines remain effective in preventing severe disease, data reveals that protection against the virus and the ability to prevent infection with variants may decrease over time,” the letter states.
“The emergence of omicron further emphasizes the importance of COVID-19 vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts,” it adds.
Georgetown University and American University in Washington, D.C., have also unveiled booster requirements for students that will take effect early next year.