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At least a dozen colleges and universities are requiring students to get COVID-19 vaccine

Some colleges, universities mandate vaccines
Some colleges, universities mandate vaccines 04:56

At a growing number of colleges and universities around the U.S., getting a COVID-19 vaccination is a must for students who plan to return to campus this fall.

Since Rutgers University in New Jersey first announced in March that students would have to be immunized, at least a dozen schools have said they will require proof of inoculation for those who want to attend classes in person and participate in other on-campus activities. 

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said the university's vaccine mandate is essential for reaching "herd immunity" on campus and that students are on board. "The reaction has been wholly positive. They know that this is the path to reopening," he told CBS News' Meg Oliver.

Other schools that will require shots include Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island; Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts; and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York,

Vaccine requirement is legal

Legal experts say these institutions are well within their legal rights to require returning students to be fully immunized against the coronavirus, so long as they grant exemptions for medical and religious beliefs and offer other reasonable accommodations.

"For those who simply don't want to, the fact is there are lots of other options for them for their education," Holloway said.  

Holloway, who was appointed president of Rutgers in January of last year, began his tenure at the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based university remotely on July 1. He said his goal is to maintain "the safest possible campus" as it returns to normal. 

"I'm a COVID president. I've never seen this campus alive with all of its students," Holloway said. "That's what I'm hoping to accomplish so we can get back to life as we used to know it."

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