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Colleges in Tennessee Valley share COVID vaccine policy for fall semester

So far two schools have made COVID vaccinations optional upon returning to campus this fall.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Some college campuses are requiring COVID vaccinations this fall. Our neighboring state, Georgia, has schools like Emory University and Morehouse School of Medicine requiring it.

Where do we stand in the Valley? Our WZDX News reporter has the details on what vaccination for universities will look like.

"Colleges and universities can establish policies within their own entities to determine what is best for their student faculty and staff," says ADPH Assistant State Health Officer, Dr. Karen Landers.

A growing number of universities are requiring COVID vaccinations next fall. "Something that would be left up to the individual colleges and universities and not a policy of the Alabama Department of Public Health," says Landers.

We reached out to universities in the Tennessee Valley to find out about their vaccine policy. Alabama A&M University says:

"The university will continue to follow ADPH and state guidelines and urge students and employees to take the vaccine."

Oakwood university is doing the same and following CDC guidelines.

We haven't heard back from university of Alabama Huntsville, however we do know the school required students who were opting to live on campus to get tested before returning this Spring 2021 semester.

"We do know that we are seeing more COVID-19 percentage-wise in persons that are younger...the majority of our COVID cases now are in persons in the 18-50 years of age," says Landers.

While some universities require a COVID vaccinations for next fall, a requirement for vaccinations against infectious diseases isn't something new.

"Colleges require students who live in dormitories to take the meningococcal vaccine," says Landers.

There isn't a requirement to get the vaccine, but Landers still encourages people to get it. "While the vaccine is still under Emergency Use Authorization, I would strongly urge everyone who is age eligible to take this vaccine," she says.