Students attending colleges and universities in New York would be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination under a measure proposed by Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman.
The bill is meant to limit the spread of the virus on college campuses, which have struggled to remain open during the pandemic and have seen infections spread quickly among students, while also protecting nearby communities.
The measure would add COVID to the list of vaccinations already required for college students, which currently include measles, mumps and rubella.
Hoylman is making the proposal as vaccine participation has slowed in New York and around the country, which officials have attributed to a combination of hesitancy as well as access to the shots.
"Since 1991, New York law has required all students taking in-person classes to be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella," said Hoylman, a candidate for Manhattan borough president. "By extending this immunization requirement to COVID-19, we will be taking action to help ensure none of our universities become COVID-19 hot spots again."
In the fall alone, towns with open colleges and universities saw a 56% jump in COVID compared to three weeks prior to the start of classes.
Last month, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras in an interview on Capital Tonight did not rule out requiring the vaccine for students by mid-summer, though he insisted there was a desire among students to get their shots.
"We don’t have a vaccine hesitancy problem among SUNY students," he said. "What they’ve been demanding of us is eligibility, and now that the state has opened eligibility, they’re signing up."