The goal of the new vaccine requirement that starts with the fall semester at all Indiana University campuses is to achieve herd immunity and avoid any on-campus restrictions. Some tough penalties go with not getting the vaccine.
“They want to go to parties. They want to go to football games and basketball games. They want to have gatherings and they don’t want to have to constantly worry about this. The vaccine mandate allows us to have all of that,” said Dr. Aaron Carroll, a member of IU’s Medical Response Team, in a Monday night Zoom meeting, which was part of the “Ask Aaron” series.
Friday it was made clear that all students, faculty and staff must get the vaccine to go to class or work at IU. Students who do not comply and are not exempt, will essentially be kicked out, with registration canceled. Faculty and staff will be fired.
The justification given by administration and IU medical staff is that they want a normal campus life, without masks and restrictions.
“Our goal is to say, no. We won’t need to mask in class. We won’t need to mask in the dining hall. We won’t need to mask when we’re going to events or parties,” said Carroll.
But, if you are one of the few who fit on a narrow list of people who will be exempt for an as-yet undetermined list of religious and medical reasons, you will still need to mask up to be on campus.
“For the people who are exempt for the variety of legitimate reasons, would still need to do certain things to be safe. That would include masking. That will also likely include mitigation testing,” said Carroll.
He surmised that testing may be as much as twice per week.
People who are coming on campus as vendors or for mail delivery will likely be required to prove vaccination or mask up, though hard policy has not been set.
Students who are coming to Indiana from other countries to attend IU, will also be required to have one of the five vaccinations that are approved by the FDA or the World Health Organization.
If they have already been vaccinated, but that vaccination is not approved by either organization once they get to Indiana, they will be required to re-vaccinate.
“We will gladly give you the vaccines that are available here,” said Dr. Lana Dbeibo, an infectious disease specialist and also a member of the school’s medical response team.
She said there’s no reason to believe getting vaccinated twice would be dangerous, but admitted that there is not enough data to support that conclusion.
People who are going to be working or attending class in the fall have been advised to get the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine by July 1.