Board of Regents won’t require COVID-19 vaccinations at Iowa’s public universities

Mike Richards, President of the state Board of Regents, said vaccines won’t be required for students or employees on any campus.


Shivansh Ahuja

Syringes for the COVID-19 vaccine lay on a counter at the VA Medical Center in Iowa City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. The center received the Moderna vaccine for its employees.

Rylee Wilson, News Editor

COVID-19 vaccinations won’t be required for students or employees at any of Iowa’s three regents’ institutions, including the University of Iowa. 

Mike Richards, president of the state Board of Regents, said at the regents’ meeting Wednesday morning that vaccines will be strongly encouraged, but not required on campuses this fall. 

“While we continue to strongly encourage members of our campus community to get vaccinated, the regents universities will not be mandating vaccinations for any students or employees now or for the 2021-2022 academic year,” he said. 

Richard said he strongly believes in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. 

“We will continue to make them available and we encourage people to get vaccinated, but they will not be required at our three universities,” he said. 

The UI had previously announced on April 9 that vaccines won’t be mandatory for students or staff.

The university had been vaccinating students with Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccines until April 13, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended agencies pause using the vaccine after six reports of rare but serious side effects. 

The UI is continuing to vaccinate students with Modern and Pfizer vaccines as supply allows. 

Several other universities have announced they will require students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus in the fall, including Big Ten institution Rutgers University, the University of Notre Dame, and Duke University. 

All students entering the UI are required to have received two measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations, unless they have a religious or medical exemption.