COVID-19 vaccine requirement decision pending at CLU

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Marcos Pino, Reporter

Before starting their first semester, all California Lutheran University undergraduate students are required to complete Health Services’ online health forms, which include proof of four vaccines. Cal Lutheran has not yet decided if the COVID-19 vaccine will be added to that list. 

“The plan is to have a decision regarding COVID vaccination later this spring. This will give students plenty of time to meet any new requirements should changes be put in place,” Director of Health Services Kerri Lauchner said in an email interview.

This week, President Joe Biden announced that all adults in the U.S. will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19. 

The California Department of Public Health stated on its website that the state will begin vaccinating all people 16 or older on April 15.

Lauchner said Cal Lutheran administrators are researching the logistics behind a COVID-19 vaccine requirement by consulting with local health officials, keeping up to date on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and monitoring what other universities are doing.

Nancy Gill, senior executive director of University Communication at California State University Channel Islands, said in an email interview that California State Universities are not currently requiring students and employees to receive the vaccine as a condition of being enrolled or employed. Cal State Channel Islands is just one of 23 campuses within the California State University system.

In an email interview, Assistant Director of Human Resources Roxanne Robinson-Jones said Cal Lutheran employees have not been required to receive specific vaccinations in the past. However, Robinson said the university does make suggestions about health guidelines to its employees on the Cal Lutheran KNOW site.

The vaccinations that Cal Lutheran students are required to receive are to protect the community from the consequences of dangerous diseases. For example, the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella is required, Lauchner said.

“Measles is one of the most contagious viruses as up to nine in ten unimmunized people will become infected with measles if they were in a room with a person who had the virus,” Lauchner said. “Up to one in five people with measles can be hospitalized due to the disease and people with measles are contagious four days before the tell-tale rash of measles appears, One can imagine how this virus could spread through a residence hall or classroom.”

According to the April 7 Ventura County Vaccine Dashboard update, 27.2% of those 16 years or older in Ventura County have been fully vaccinated.

According to a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health article, “if 80% of a population is immune to a virus, four out of every five people who encounter someone with the disease won’t get sick (and won’t spread the disease any further).”