NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk State University is joining other colleges, health care groups and more in requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for the fall semester, with some exceptions.
NSU leadership recently announced that all students, faculty, and staff must be vaccinated, except for those with medical or religious reasons.
It’s a change from previous guidance. NSU said back in June that it “expects and strongly encourages all employees and students to get fully vaccinated prior to the start of the Fall 2021 semester or as soon as possible” but did not require COVID-19 vaccinations.
NSU will require vaccination reporting from students and employees by August 6.
“We believe that this is in the best interest of our university. Some will say that there are fully vaccinated people who have gotten the virus, so why should we? Our response is simple, those persons are not getting seriously ill and more importantly, they are not dying,” NSU said in a statement. “… please know that we care deeply for every single member of the Norfolk State family and will ensure the safety of our community by implementing this measure.”
Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are now among unvaccinated people, and the vaccine has proven to be effective against the more contagious delta variant. Some “breakthrough” cases have been reported in which fully vaccinated people are infected with the virus, but most of those people have “mild” illness or no symptoms.
“While we have come a long way in battling this horrible pandemic, we are now faced with a more infectious Delta variant that threatens to derail the progress of the last few months with a resurgence nationally and here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” NSU said. “Data shows that most of the recent cases are among unvaccinated people. Sadly, this may also disproportionately affect people of color, many of whom are already at high risk and suffer from other underlying conditions.”
Norfolk State, Hampton and other HBCUs have been holding clinics and other outreach methods to encourage those in the Black community to get vaccinated. Hampton even has its own mobile health RV.
So far 64.7% of adults in Virginia are fully vaccinated and 53.7% of the total population is fully vaccinated.