"Proof of vaccination will be required for all students planning to attend this fall," the university said
Rutgers University
Rutgers University
| Credit: getty images

Rutgers University has announced that all students planning to return to its campus this coming fall semester must be able to show proof that they've received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway and other university executives said in a statement released on Thursday that the New Jersey-based school plans "to move toward a full return to our pre-pandemic normal as a vibrant institution in Fall 2021."

"In support of Rutgers' commitment to health and safety for all members of its community, the University will be updating its Immunization Requirements for Students to include the COVID-19 vaccine," the statement read. "This health policy update means that, with limited exceptions, all students planning to attend in the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated."

"Proof of vaccination will be required for all students planning to attend this fall," the statement added.

Rutgers University
Rutgers University
| Credit: getty images

According to the school, any vaccine authorized for use in the United States such as Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are accepted in the updated policy.

Those who plan on participating in off-campus learning, including students enrolled in online degree programs who do not need to use on-campus facilities, will not need to provide proof of vaccination, school officials said.

Students may also request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons.

Rutgers already requires new or transferring students to show proof of vaccination against diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella.

"Since the start of the pandemic, we have said that the safety of the Rutgers community is a shared responsibility," Antonio Calcado, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Rutgers, said in a statement. "An effective vaccination program is a continuation of Rutgers' commitment to health and safety for all members of our community of more than 71,000 students, the cities we are in and the communities we serve throughout New Jersey."

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Rutgers' decision to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students on campus comes as states across the country begin to open up their eligibility to all residents over the age of 16.

As of March 25, five states — Alaska, Mississippi, West Virginia, Utah and Georgia — are now allowing any residents 16 and older to sign up to receive one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines.

The vaccine from Pfizer is approved for people age 16 and up, and those from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are approved for people 18 and up.

California, Texas and 15 more states recently announced plans to open their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to any residents aged 16 and up by mid-April.

Multiple large-scale studies have found that vaccines are safe. There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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