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University puts vaccine booster requirement on hold

As we look forward to spring and hopefully to emerging from two years of COVID-19 restrictions, the disease continues to behave in unpredictable ways. Hospitalization rates for the disease in New York State are at their lowest levels since the onset of the pandemic; but recently we’ve seen a small spike in infection rates on our campus, primarily among undergraduates.

These infections are generally quite mild, but this spike serves as a reminder to all members of our community to take care of themselves–and others–by practicing healthy habits, like washing your hands regularly. The University continues to require that students, faculty, and staff be fully vaccinated (two doses of mRNA vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine) unless an exemption has been granted.

We also strongly encourage wearing a face mask whenever possible, not only to prevent the spread of airborne disease, like COVID, flu, and common colds, but also to protect those in our community who may be more susceptible to serious infections because of immunocompromised status or other conditions. The University of Rochester Medical Center has developed specific guidelines for students and employees on the Medical Center campus, which are available on the URMC Intranet site.

Recently, New York State announced that it is no longer enforcing the booster requirement for health care workers until further notice. We’re following suit and, although we continue to encourage boosting for anyone who is eligible, we are putting the booster requirement for all University students, faculty, staff (including the University of Rochester Medical Center) on hold indefinitely.

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve modified or changed guidance as we learn more about the science of COVID, where there are new discoveries and insights almost daily. We have also aligned with federal and state requirements, especially within our clinical care operations. Every decision we’ve made or the policy we’ve established has been made with the health and safety of everyone in our community as the single most important consideration.

We will continue to be guided by science, in compliance with regulations and the law, to make decisions in the best interests of the University community overall. And we will continue to be grateful to everyone in this community who has weathered the last two-plus years without losing sight of our educational and healthcare missions, or losing faith in our potential to make our world ever better.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about vaccine requirements

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