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There are 66 comments on BU Will Require Students to Get COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall Semester

  1. Interesting that BU today only reached out to positive commenters.

    The COVID vaccine is still only under Emergency Use Authorization, meaning that is “has not undergone the same type of review as an FDA-approved or cleared product.” Specifically, we have no information about long-term side-effects of these vaccines, and plenty of examples throughout medical history where initially benign treatments ended up being harmful.

    The right approach is to follow the well-established norm of “informed consent” and let individuals in the community choose (or not choose) to accept any COVID vaccine risks without penalty.

    1. Dear Ari, thanks for your comment. Just to be clear, BU Today does not “reach out to positive commenters.” We ask people for comments. The particular people we reached out to were largely satisfied with this announcement. If they had been unhappy, we would have quoted them saying why they were unhappy. And we published your comment since you have your own questions. Thanks.

      1. Thanks for the clarification. I do commend BU today on being open about publishing a wide-range of responses in their “Comments” section.

      2. What about students who have already had the virus?! This is NEVER talked about!! Getting the actual virus is better than any vaccine! And let’s face it, this IS NOT A VACCINE! It is a gene therapy TREATMENT for a disease, NOT a preventative vaccine. Many people who have had this virus still have the antibodies since they got it last year and the antibodies will last for many years to come!! Please address this issue before you force everyone who pays for a quality education at your school leaves your campus for good.

        1. Dear Mike,
          You have raised several points in your comment which I hope to address. The first being whether individuals who have already had COVID-19 should receive the vaccine. Our answer is consistent with the CDC recommendation that previously infected individuals should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, previous infection does not guarantee immunity for everyone and we have had several cases at BU of people getting re-infected within 3-6 months after their first infection. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

          We understand that some may choose to delay vaccination for up to 3 months given the low likelihood of re-infection during that time and we are working on protocols to address this for the fall. Second, while the newer vaccines use mRNA technology they would not be considered gene therapy.

          Finally, the CDC is actively studying how long immunity will last from vaccination, but from the millions of doses delivered it is clear that vaccination side effects are clearly outweighed by the benefits of deceased severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. While most BU students have not experienced severe cases, we are just beginning to understand the impacts of PACS or “long-Covid” which can occur even in people with relatively mild infections.
          https://covid19.nih.gov/research-highlights/when-COVID-19-symptoms-linger

    2. I have to disagree. “Informed consent” shouldnt be one-sided.
      As someone in a class- I want to be informed if anyone in my class isn’t vaccinated. That way- I can make my own informed decision as to whether I am willing to sit in that classroom with them, exposing myself and risking my life (and those of my immunocompromised family who CANNOT take vaccines.
      We need to require vaccinations for all or require people divulge their lack of vaccination so that I can exercise “informed consent.”

      1. As someone not wishing to get vaccinated with this experimental so-called ‘vaccine’ (called vaccine so pharma/govt/doctors are not liable for problems) I would sure like to know if someone next to me in class is vaccinated because they can still pass the virus to others. You are willing to get vaccinated and compromise your immunocompromised family who cannot take vaccines, (as myself), so that you can pass it on to them? Look at the statistics of vaccinated people testing positive for Covid! Official govt. stats in the country I’m living in were 39,000 such cases. That’s only the recorded ones and tip of the iceberg.

    3. B.U. definitely has an agenda with this bull. Don’t get the vaccine. If people refuse & B.U. thinks they are going to lose all their students & money, maybe they will reaches this dangerous & abusive mandate.

  2. It is unethical to mandate vaccinations in order to attend BU when there is a sharp increase in cases of people experiencing severe adverse health effects to the vaccine, and catching the virus after getting vaccine. Nobody knows yet what the long term consequences of these vaccines are yet as the clinical trials have not been completed. These trials take years to complete yet the covid 19 vaccines were passed im just 9 months. These vaccines have not been proven to sterilize the virus and protect the person but rather just allegedly to help suppress the severe symptoms of the virus. For BU to mandate this is wrong and students, who pay ridiculously expensive tuition as it is, should maintain the personal choice on vaccine or not. This is tyranny at its finest.

  3. Thank you for the article, and thanks to BU for doing their best to keep everybody safe! Navigating this pandemic requires very difficult decisions, and I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of decision-makers. What I am about to write is not specific to BU, but applies more generally to the enthusiasm about the three approved COVID-19 vaccines.

    I don’t understand why we think that the vaccines approved for emergency use (a) prevent transmission or (b) asymptomatic infections. Neither Pfizer’s, or Moderna’s, nor Johnson & Johnson’s Phase III study shows this. The corresponding FDA memoranda explicitly state so.

    Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine:
    – Published study results found here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2034577
    – FDA decision memorandum here: https://www.fda.gov/media/144416/download
    – The study does not mention of transmission. The FDA decision memorandum says on page 51 “Data are limited to assess the effect of the vaccine against transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from individuals who are infected despite vaccination. Additional evaluations will be needed […].”
    – The study explicitly states that asymptomatic infections were not tested for: “These data do not address whether vaccination prevents asymptomatic infection […].” The FDA decision memorandum confirms on page 50: “Data are limited to assess the effect of the vaccine against asymptomatic infection […] Additional evaluations […] will be needed […].”

    Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine:
    – Published study results here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2035389
    – FDA decision memorandum here: https://www.fda.gov/media/144673/download
    – Asymptomatic infections were not tested for; according to the study: “the data were not sufficient to assess asymptomatic infection, although our results from a preliminary exploratory analysis suggest that some degree of prevention may be afforded after the first dose.” The FDA memorandum states on page 56: “Data are limited to assess the effect of the vaccine in preventing asymptomatic infection. Additional evaluations will be needed […].”
    – No mention of transmission in the study. Accordingly, the FDA memorandum states on page 56: “Data are limited to assess the effect of the vaccine against transmission of SARS-Co V-2 f rom individuals who are infected despite vaccination. Additional evaluations […] will be needed […].”

    Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Biotech) COVID-19 vaccine:
    – I couldn’t find a published study. Instead, I will use their press release from here: https://www.jnj.com/johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine-authorized-by-u-s-fda-for-emergency-usefirst-single-shot-vaccine-in-fight-against-global-pandemic
    – The FDA memorandum: https://www.fda.gov/media/146338/download
    – The press release does not mention asymptomatic infections. The FDA memorandum states on page 60: “Available Day 71 N-serology data from a small subset of participants in the study, with infrequent evaluations of serological and virological measurements, are limited to assess the effect of the vaccine in preventing asymptomatic infection. There is uncertainty about the interpretation of these data and definitive conclusions cannot be drawn at this time. Additional evaluations will be needed […].”
    – The press release does not mention transmission. The FDA memorandum states on page 60: “Data are limited to assess the effect of the vaccine against transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from individuals who are infected despite vaccination. […] Additional evaluations […] will be needed […].

    Second, it is also not correct, according to my understanding, to expect that the vaccine lowers the chance of contracting COVID-19 by 95% (Pfizer-BioNTech), 94.1% (Moderna), or 85% (Johnson-Johnson), respectively. These numbers are the relative risk reduction. What would allow such a statement is the absolute risk reduction. That number is around 1% for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. See also this opinion piece in the BMJ: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/11/26/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-lets-be-cautious-and-first-see-the-full-data/ For Johnson-Johnson I couldn’t calculate the absolute risk reduction, as the press release doesn’t give enough details.

    I am probably missing several other aspects of the reasons to vaccinate everybody in order to end the pandemic — I am no expert after all. But based on the above, it seems that we are hoping to end the pandemic with emergency authorized vaccines that are expected to reduce the chance of getting COVID-19 by ~1%, that we don’t know will prevent transmission, and that we don’t know will prevent asymptomatic infections.

    None of this is to say that we shouldn’t try to get back to normal using the best means available. But I think these facts tend to get lost in the enthusiasm (and increasingly, requirement) to vaccinate everybody.

  4. This doesn’t make any scientific sense… The seasonal flu is significantly more dangerous to young people than covid is. Why wouldn’t BU require a seasonal flu shot? Why wouldn’t BU require masks permanently? As we have seen, the masks drastically reduced the incidence of flu cases this year and the covid vaccine does not prevent someone from spreading the virus.

    Covid-19 isn’t going to disappear because we get vaccinated. No one knows for sure how long the antibodies last post vaccination, plus new variants are appearing daily. The vaccine we have now might not even be effective in a couple years, but we would still use it to reduce the severity of symptoms, similarly to the flu shot. “Experts” think covid-19 will be as common as the flu in the near future and we will have to get seasonal covid vaccinations.

    I fear BU has stopped “listening to the science” and has started listening to the opinions of their student body. The most at risk population at BU are the ‘boomer’ professors and administrators. Make them get the vaccine.

  5. I really don’t think the school should be allow d to mandate a medical treatment that is not FDA approved. I know the vaccines look to be effective and safe, but I do not like the precedent this sets.

  6. So what if I don’t want to take the vaccine? I can’t come back to school? The school is forcing me to do something I don’t have a choice in.

    Looks like a control state to me, what else is BU going to make me do to come back to school.

    Just a FYI, the “Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been found to be highly effective against the virus” has been suspended today due to clotting issues.

    Also I find it ironic you still need to mask up after a vaccine shot. What take the vaccine in the first place if you are still going to potentially be a carrier, isn’t that the whole point of stopping the spread.

    Also, the vaccines have been found to be less effective on other strains. The immunity from this vaccine is still unknown and could only be up to 6-12 months. So please stop calling it a vaccine, it’s a shot.

    When pharma companies making the vaccine are suggesting in the future booster shots might be needed. It’s no longer a vaccine but a covid shot, the pharma companies have found a way to monetize the shot and BU is falling for it.

    1. Forced state? Give me a break. This is free enterprise. BU is a private business and can mandate whatever rules they wish in the course of conducting that business, so long as those rules aren’t in conflict with state or federal law. Here’s the beauty of this system: if you don’t like an organization’s policies, you get to take your business elsewhere. I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who subscribe to the uninformed, illogical rhetoric you’re peddling.

  7. It would be interesting an article talking about vaccination outside the US. I’m traveling to my country for the summer and the access to the vaccine is very limited. Many countries won’t have enough vaccines for even two years!
    Apartment leases start on September 1st. How are we supposed to get the vaccine on campus for the beginning of fall semester? With no LFA the first weeks of the semester seem problematic for international students.

  8. As a parent, this is upsetting to hear of this requirement. It is only under emergency use authorization at this time, we do not know long-term side effects and these young people have an entire life to live. Additionally, a conclusion has not been made if the shot prevents contracting Covid nor the spread of Covid. It is believed that it likely reduces symptoms. Lastly, there’s over a 99% survival rate for the college student population. The choice to be vaccinated should be just that – a choice.

    1. This is extremely upsetting & outrageous! This is an experimental drug for something that 99% of the people won’t even get! & these multi-billion, bio pharmaceutical companies won’t even stand by their products & be held legally liable, but they want to gamble with our children’s & our health?! Disgusting. This is setting the stage for SO much loss of rights & abuse, especially to children. Maybe the lower schools will try to pull this insanity too. I will fight til the death for my children. B.U. mandate is obscene.

      1. With you 100%.

        According to 42 U.S. Code § 300aa–22, “No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.”

        COVID vaccines are even excluded from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, until 2024 – precisely because of their experimental nature during a public health emergency. If they are so “safe and effective” why can they not be held liable for damages?

  9. Make vaccinations mandatory for faculty and staff. I already got my two shots. That way, we can eliminate the ridiculous wearing of masks and scale back (and ultimately eliminate) testing. The money that went into the testing operation needs to be returned to full-time professional staff who have not received raises and have been denied matching contributions to their retirement accounts.

    1. An experimental drug should NEVER be made mandatory. Fir anyone. These restrictions are the problem. Taking away personal choice & freedom over your own body is not the solution.

      1. You have “personal choice and freedom” to attend a school other than BU. Exercise that right. Nobody is forcing you to do anything. To compare a private institution’s internal policies with tyranny is a joke.

  10. I totally disagree with this decision, and I would rather stop my studies at BU than getting the vaccine by force. I fear more this vaccine than Covid 19 or death itself. Better the devil you know that the angel you do not know.

    To be honest, this is not the right and fair decision you have made on behalf of students.

    Thank you

  11. I am extremely dismayed that Boston University has moved right to a mandate (of a vaccine still under emergency use authorization) without first seeing what uptake in the community looks like. I went along with the mask requirement, while on campus – despite my extreme skepticism over the efficacy of face coverings in non-surgical environments – because the argument was about protecting others. I appreciated the delicate ecosystem the university was trying to maintain, and I felt obliged to do my part to keep the campus operational. The vaccines remove this argument, allowing those who are afraid of illness to vaccinate themselves. Those of us who do not fear COVID, who recognize it is yet another risk to navigate, among countless others, should not be compelled to receive a vaccination that has been in widespread use for less than a year. That it is is the cohort at least risk from COVID illness – students – who are being subjected to the mandate is even more upsetting. I hope the University reconsiders this extreme and illiberal position.

    1. I very much agree with you, Elizabeth. I think everyone with more than 2 brain cells can understand the rather small risk of this virus, I have not heard of a single BU student who ended up in the hospital because of Covid, let alone any who have died. I think it all stems from the way the media has sensationalized this pandemic from the beginning, to the point where many of our fellow citizens have lost all rational thought. In the vaccine, they see a permission slip from the authority to slowly creep “back to normal”. It’s horrible to see so many walking around OUTSIDE on a beautiful day with a mask on their face, sometimes with two! Put the mask on inside, ok i get it, but anyone wearing a mask outside is either trying to avoid conflict or they have simply lost all connection with reality. Take your mask off outside people!

  12. Does this only apply to On Campus students? I found it a bit strange that this was not more clearly communicated in the headline or opening paragraph although it does seem implied in the language.

    1. This applies to any student who will be taking classes on BU campuses this fall, regardless of whether they live on or off campus.

  13. I agree with some of these comments. what about the long-term side effects? we should have recommended the shot we need to think about our students and faculties long-term health thank you Bu

  14. Many colleges and universities around the country are suffering considerable financial losses because of the “Covid moment”. I am sure that BU students wishing to transfer elsewhere will encounter few problems in finding an institution that will not be requiring that students be vaccinated before returning to in-person classroom settings. No one has a “right” (legal or otherwise) to attend BU …

  15. Completely agree with President Brown!

    Let’s reopen the campus with full vaccinations so that our students can learn in class and enjoy their college life!

    1. He could reopen it right now and not much would change as far as students becoming ill. But obviously that would be a PR nightmare, so the vaccine is a nice tool to reassure those that the campus will be safe.

    1. I am strongly opposed to students being forced to get the vaccine, and agree that they should not be singled out like this, but as a staff member I would sooner quit my job than be forced to take an experimental vaccine. It should be a choice, for everyone.

    2. Absolutely-students net BU about 70k USD a semester off undergrads where staff and others do not. Were I a student I would leave; for those of us required to vaccinate as staff I agree bring back the income-as a parent likely paying for this madness you have the opportunity to not encourage this borderline legal standoff.

    3. But wait if the vaccine does what you think it does, then why should anyone but those who are scared of COVID take it? If taking it makes you safe, then me having COVID is irrelevant to you right? Especially since you’ll still be wearing your mask which as we know definitely stops the spread.

  16. What accommodations will be made for students who don’t take it? Other schools have stated with their mandates that if you don’t take the shot you will have to continue learning online, but this reads as though BU won’t be continuing remote learning. So will those who refuse to take it be forced to transfer? I know I will press pause on my studies in need be as long as this policy is in place.

    1. They are offering exemptions for religious or medical reasons. They will have to provide “reasonable accommodations” for these students, but we do not know yet what that entails. Likely will include continuing with the weekly Covid test and wearing a mask on campus.

  17. With the mandate for the students to be vaccinated to return to campus in the fall, is it also BU’s plan that all classes will be in person next year and not on-line. If not, please explain why.

  18. Yep the J&J vaccine was just shut down because several young women experienced severe immune reactions that interfered with their body’s platelet production, leading to blood clotting. Don’t ask questions though, take your shot and shut up! Thanks BU, for following the science.

    1. I think 6 people developed these rare side effects, out of the 6-7 million doses that have been administered. This pause is out of an abundance of caution. I do hear that the blood clots are not your typical clots, they are involving vessels in the brain, which would scare anyone. But overall the J&J still seems to be overwhelmingly safe!

      1. So are we following the science or are we not following the science? They can choose to halt distribution of a vaccine because of potential danger but people shouldn’t be able to choose to halt receiving a vaccine – less they want to attempt to uproot their studies and bring their business elsewhere.

  19. I’m very glad that BU has listened to the science and is trying to get students back to a normal college experience. I hope they also require vaccination for faculty and staff so that the BU bubble can be maintained. Much appreciation to faculty and staff who have already received vaccine to protect themselves and their communities!

  20. Although I’ve graduated from BU, my initial thinking is about international students. Not every student has the luxury to get the vaccination ASAP. For example, in the UK the earliest I will get the first vaccine is the mid to end of July. Due to the way the vaccine system is set up here, it is not guaranteed I will receive the second dose by the start of Fall semester.

    How will BU address this? You surely cannot punish international students for how their country operates a vaccination system. Are international students not allowed to be on campus until their vaccinated? How will that work with their visa status as that is an additional item to consider as well?

    I sincerely hope BU does think about its international students situation and provides adequate support as it is a bit harder on them (visa documentation, additional paper work, vaccinations, moving from thousands of miles away).

  21. I mean, really?
    I’m astonished by these comments… I think that making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory is the only way to go back to “some normality.”
    Many colleges in Boston have made the same decision as BU did.
    I don’t know why you are so scandalized about that.
    Don’t you want to go back to in-person classes? Being free from masks and social distancing practices? Well, we are lucky that in less than a year the new mRNA technology gave scientists the possibility to develop these vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer). Every vaccine may have side effects, but I think that nothing is worst than another year of remote life…

    1. I agree everything should open. No need for a dangerous experimental drug to do it, though. How could you agree with forcing people to inject their bodies with unsafe drugs, NO long-term studies done (what happens years from now?) and that the very companies that make them, won’t even stand by? I am scandalized by THAT!

      And, why don’t you research Pzizer & see how many times they have pled guilty in court for various misdoings. Like bribing doctors to prescribe their medications for off-label uses & they later found out that some of those medicines were unsafe & people sued. They just had to pay a few million bucks in fines. No big deal for a company raking in billions!

      I want to get back to normal, too. That’s up to the people. The people ordering the restrictions are the problem. The people going along with it are continuing it. I am not risking my life & health to bow down to get my rights that should have never been taken away in the first place. This is sick. If people started standing up to this unjust nonsense, then everything WOULD get back to normal.

      “If there is hope it lies in the proles” -George Orwell-

      1. What is the evidence that those vaccines are “dangerous experimental drugs?”

        This pandemic has shown how the myth of absolute freedom can put in danger people’s lives. This myth is more dangerous than these vaccines.

        People who don’t care about other’s safety are dangerous! And usually, they are the ones who spread fake news about vaccines. Because they consider their “freedom” as more important than people’s lives!

  22. Anti-vaxxers in the BU community? Yikes. That’s embarrassing. You would think folks at such a university would be more intelligent and compassionate than that. I don’t want to share a campus with someone that believes COVID is overblown and not a risk because of someone’s age. If 565K deaths isn’t alarming and concerning to you, you must have no empathy whatsoever…

    1. You know what’s embarrassing? Having members of this community be so closed minded and rooted in their confirmation bias that they are unwilling to look at the actual science that makes people hesitant to take this vaccine in the first place. This is a research I university and I very much believe in science; after doing my own research I have no interest in taking this vaccine and – had you done any research on the matter other than just listening to the mainstream media – I believe you’d arrive at the same conclusion. Also, as far as I can see no one saying covid isn’t an issue.

    2. It has nothing to do with anti-vaccine people…we have no long term studies and this a disease that causes fatalities in <0.03% of people; yet people of this age are mandated at a private university that rakes in 70k a semester per person to take a vaccine. That is insane. The flu vaccine is not mandated and kills a higher percentage of people at that age (CDC reported). Quit acting like people who do not want these regulations to control life and actually look at statistics. From a scientist who works with virus.

  23. I wholeheartedly agree that vaccines should be required. Although is has been years since I graduated, MMR and current DTAP were required when I enrolled, so why not Covid? Childrens’ camps have always required all vaccinations, as do public schools.

    Oddly, visitors and tourists are not required to have MMR or DTAP to enter the country or to participate in the work visa program. Several years ago an international counselor working at my childrens’ camp was diagnosed with measles. Beacuse vaccination was required of all campers and staff, they were safe.

  24. Sad to read these comments from supposed students at BU. I am hoping that most of the anti-vax comments are coming from trolls who search the internet to spread their nonsense.

    1. Nope. Graduate-level educated at Boston University, thank you. Also, for what it’s worth, the “anti vax” label is an easy – read ‘lazy’ – way to discredit someone’s thoughts without having to do the work of reasearching the issue and finding that you might actually have to change your point of view. I used to be pro vax, but – as a well-educated individual who very much believes in science – I did the research and would prefer not to take this vaccine, or any other than is not 100% necessary.

  25. What happened to “my body, my choice?” And, “keep your laws [hence mandates] off my body.”

    The forms I had to sign to receive my doses included the phrase “I do this voluntarily…” If it is mandated with such overbearing penalties, I am no longer doing it voluntarily. Anyone getting vaccinated in order to return to BU in the Fall should line through that phrase on your vaccination consent forms.

  26. I echo all of the comments in opposition to this “requirement” and am utterly disappointed in my alma matter. This will certainly affect any desire I have to continue to contribute to BU. Health is a personal matter and mandating an emergency-use vaccine, let alone any vaccine, is a grave violation of personal freedom and overstep. I cannot help but be dismayed and question the motivations behind such a decision.

  27. Interesting that the media and BU keep reporting that the majority of people support vaccines when on this article and every other article/video I have seen the comment sections reflect quite the opposite opinion. Hmmm.

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