College students will need COVID vaccine proof or other option now that FDA gave approval

Students at Louisiana four-year universities will soon have to show proof of immunization, a physician’s certification that the vaccine is medically contraindicated, or a written dissent, now that the federal Food & Drug Administration fully approved Monday morning one of the COVID vaccines.

For the 91,500 students at the nine colleges of the University of Louisiana System that paperwork won't be needed until the next registration period. For LSU, details of how the mandate will be implemented are still up in the air.

“We notified students of the expected addition of COVID-19 vaccination to the required schedules as soon as we received Louisiana Department of Health approval,” which was done on Aug. 9, said UL System President Jim Henderson. "The effective application occurs at the next registration period. In Louisiana, immunization requirements are essentially a paperwork protocol."

Inside Louisiana’s hospitals, the battle against COVID-19 is as dire as ever. Patients in the state’s COVID wards, mostly unvaccinated, are dy…

LSU issued a statement: “Now that the FDA has provided approval of Pfizer, we will be communicating logistics to the LSU community soon. We need to fully review the approval from FDA, but plan to implement the mandate on campus.”

LSU Board of Supervisors in July asked LDH to add the COVID vaccines to the mandatory vaccinations list for public school students in June. LSU President William F. Tate IV, who took office in July, has said several times that the vaccination requirement on LSU campuses was contingent upon the FDA approval.

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FDA gave full approval Monday morning of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid Vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to soon be fully approved by the FDA. 

Cars line up for COVID-19 tests at LSU.

Members of all LSU sororities and some fraternities must get tested for COVID-19 after the school found traces of the virus in the wastewater system serving their area of the campus.

The university sent members of 15 Greek chapters an email Thursday notifying them that they must be tested at one of the three on-campus testing sites within 48 hours.

Though Louisiana's public colleges and universities could have mandated the vaccinations on their own, higher ed officials opted to wait for full FDA authorization because state law more clearly gave the Louisiana Department of Health the ability to add COVID to the list of vaccinations to enroll and attend schools. 

Including two-year-community colleges, graduate and vocational schools, Louisiana has about 213,000 higher education students.

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Vaccines may be optional at LSU, but they’re the price of admission for students who want to party on campus for rush week.