UW to require COVID-19 vaccine for all students

SEATTLE — The University of Washington joins a growing list of colleges requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all students, according to a release from the school Monday.

Students on all three campuses must be vaccinated before the start of the autumn quarter in September, and will need to verify their vaccination unless they are claiming an exemption, the school said.

“Our community is one that cares — about each other and about the state and society we serve. For your health, and for the health of us all, please get vaccinated as soon as you can,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce wrote in a message to the school.

If students can’t get vaccinated where they currently live, UW will provide vaccinations once they arrive on campus. That was good news to Sonya Homami, a UW student who previously had concerns about equity.

“There’s some students who live in rural areas and who have trouble finding access to a vaccination site, so those students are really going to be at a disadvantage,” Homami said.

Other students questioned the philosophy behind a mandate itself.

“The removal of choice - that’s what I’m hung up on. But I see why they did it and I would’ve done the same thing,” Luis Figueroa.

UW stated the requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine mirrors other medical requirements, including the MMR vaccine.

“They already require certain kinds of vaccines before coming to campus anyways, so there should be (no) problem with adding it to the list,” Uma Nene, a UW student, said.

Washington State University and Pacific Lutheran University also announced COVID vaccine requirements for students last week. Seattle University and Whitman College also previously announced new vaccine requirements for students.

“If that’s what it takes to be safe, that’s what it takes,” Scott Calahan, a UW student, said. “I haven’t met a single kid who doesn’t want to get vaccinated. Everyone’s lining up to get the vaccine.”