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Medical group tells schools to wait on COVID vaccine mandates

Some universities require the vaccine even without full approval

The American Medical Association has weighed in on its view on COVID vaccine mandates and passports.

“The vaccine [should] receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration through a Biological Licenses Application,” before any mandates are put in place, including for universities. The AMA also said there should be “meaningful opportunity to voluntarily accept vaccination” and it should “not exacerbate inequities or adversely affect already marginalized populations.”

The vaccines only have Emergency Use Authorization.

“While mandating COVID vaccination is a pathway toward achieving herd immunity, a mandate also may further alienate individuals who are mistrustful of authority,” the medical group warned in its news release.

“While vaccines are highly effective public health tools, vaccine mandates are a blunt instrument and may carry the risk of eroding trust and undermining public health goals,” Gerald Harmon, the group’s president said.

Its guidance contradicts a number of colleges who have mandated the COVID-19 vaccine, despite it not having full FDA approval.

Colleges including all of those in the University of California System have required the vaccine for all students, faculty and staff, reversing its previous promise that it would only require it conditional on complete FDA approval, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The student paper of the University of Pennsylvania created a tracker for university vaccine mandates.

“The majority — 61.29% — of the 217 colleges that the DP is tracking have announced some sort of plan to require the COVID-19 vaccine in the fall, whether it be contingent upon FDA approval, students only, staff only, or for both students and staff,” the paper said.

Pushes for federal vaccine passport standards

The AMA also wants federal standards for “vaccine credentials” — it takes issue with the term “passports” and calls it a “misnomer” without any explanation of how. Merriam-Webster provides two primary definitions for passports — the classical sense of a document needed to cross foreign borders is one definition.

But a passport can also mean “permission or authorization to go somewhere” or “something that secures admission, acceptance, or attainment.”

Some states, such as Indiana, have said that universities cannot mandate students prove they’ve received the vaccine as a condition of being allowed on campus. Indiana has a law forbidding government entities from requiring COVID vaccine proof.

MORE: Governor Cuomo exempts faculty and staff from COVID vaccine mandate

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.