California State University system to require students, faculty to get COVID-19 boosters

The California State University system said Wednesday it will require all faculty, staff and students who use the system’s facilities and programs to get a vaccine booster shot to ensure that they are fully immunized against COVID-19.

The 23-campus system previously required the same group of people to get the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine before the start of the fall semester, a move that had high compliance.

Wednesday’s announcement was tied to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is expected to surge throughout California shortly after the New Year’s holiday, potentially placing enormous strain on many hospitals.

“Vaccination, including a booster when eligible, remains our most effective strategy against infection and severe disease,” CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said in a statement.

The decision will apply to virtually all of the nearly 50,000 students who collectively attend San Diego State University and Cal State San Marcos.

The CSU — which has 477,000 students and 56,000 faculty and staff systemwide — said in a statement Wednesday that, “The new requirement calls for boosters to be received by February 28, 2022 or six months after an individual received the final dose of the original vaccination, whichever is later.

“However, individual campuses may establish an earlier date for compliance for students and non-represented employees based on local circumstances.”

SDSU said in a statement to its community that, “All students, faculty and staff eligible for the COVID-19 booster will be required to have their booster on file in HealtheConnect by Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022 to be considered fully vaccinated.”

The news comes one day after the University of California announced that students and staff in the 10-campus system must get a booster shot by early next year.

Seven of the UC’s nine undergraduate campuses, including UC San Diego, said that they will temporarily push classes back online for part of January to help avoid the expected surge in Omicron infections.

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