American colleges mandate updated COVID-19 booster shot, student says it's 'out of line'

One American university says it won't let students enroll in 2023-2024 academic year without COVID-19 bivalent booster

Colleges and universities across the country are mandating students to receive an updated COVID-19 booster shot, but some are calling the requirement "out of line" and unnecessary.

Students at Yale University, University of Notre Dame, Tufts University, Harvard University and Fordham College are all being required to obtain an updated COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccine, with some putting attendance on the line as punishment for not getting the extra shot.

Fordham University in New York City required students to be fully up to date with their vaccinations as well as the "updated bivalent booster" by Nov. 1, 2022.

At Tufts University, faculty, students and staff are being required to obtain a COVID-19 bivalent booster by Jan. 23, 2023.


Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut (iStock)

"Currently, only around 50% of our university population has received the bivalent booster. The closer we get to 100%, the healthier our community will be," a Nov. 30 announcement from Tufts University read.

Yale University is requiring students to get "an updated, bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster by the start of the spring semester," while faculty and staff are "strongly encouraged" to get the updated vaccine booster.

A spokesperson for Yale University told Fox News Digital, "We are requiring students to receive the bivalent booster because their circumstances are somewhat different from those of faculty and staff, especially with regard to congregate housing and participation in large gatherings." The spokesperson noted that students can "seek an exemption from the booster requirement on medical or religious grounds."

Other colleges such as Notre Dame are requiring the bivalent booster as a "condition" for enrolling in classes during the 2023-2024 academic year. According to the university's website, students studying remotely also must receive the booster.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster "include[s] a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against COVID-19 and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant."


Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Michael Fein/Bloomberg via Getty Images/File)

Many schools across the country required a COVID-19 vaccine for attendance when it first rolled out, and a smaller number of colleges are now requiring the updated booster shot.

Michael Bellia, the vice president of the Fordham College Republicans, told Fox News Digital that the new requirement is out of line and shouldn't be imposed.

"I think it's out of line with [what] other schools are doing," Bellia said. "There's obviously no state policy or mandate anymore on the matter."

Bellia said that there has been significant pushback on the additional booster requirement from the student body at Fordham.

The University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame (Aaron Yoder via Getty Images/File)


Dr. Marc Siegel, Fox News medical analyst and professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, said that while colleges have the right to mandate the booster vaccine, he's against such action.

"I don't really want state governments getting involved in this or federal government says. … As you know, I don't believe in any of these government mandates. Yeah, but a private university probably has a right to do this," Siegel said. "I'm not for mandating it, though. I don't think it's a legal issue. … I don't like the mandates at all. I haven't liked them at all."

While Siegel said he isn't in favor of schools mandating the booster, he still thinks it should be "strongly" recommended.

"Anybody that's a young adult or a teen that hasn't had a vaccine or COVID in the past six months. I would strongly recommend this," Siegel said.