BINGHAMTON, NY – While colleges and universities across the country have announced vaccine requirements for students returning to school in the fall, the SUNY system is still waiting to decide whether to mandate it.
Chancellor Jim Malatras says SUNY is monitoring vaccination rates among its students with some campuses reporting over 50 percent and others under.
He says the university system is doing everything it can to make getting the shots easy, including hosting mass vaccination clinics on 35 of its campuses.
“We’re not seeing hesitancy as much as maybe some other institutions are. We’ve actually heard from our students who are demanding, ‘Give us the eligibility for the vaccine.’ Let’s see where we are early summertime. We’ll make that determination. But, I think ultimately our main goal is openings up the campuses. If that’s what we have to do to get there, that’s what we’ll do to get there,” says Malatras.
Binghamton University meanwhile is doing very well with its vaccination rate.
A survey of about 7,000 students a few weeks ago showed that 80 percent had either been vaccinated or were in the process of doing so.
Nevertheless, B-U President Harvey Stenger believes it’s imperative that the vaccine be required.
“I think by the fall, it has to be required. It really has to be required. We have an MMR requirement for students, this should be on the list. I know there’s hesitancy, you don’t want to put a burden on people, but when you look at the hundreds of universities across the country that have already stated that it is required, we’ll follow sooner or later. But, we’ll follow when SUNY is ready,” says Stenger.
After holding Johnson and Johnson vaccine clinics on campus, B-U is now offering students free hourly shuttle service to the state mass vaccination site in Johnson City.