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Livingstone College will require COVID-19 vaccinations this fall

SALISBURY – Livingstone College will require everyone on campus to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by this fall and is making it part of the enrollment process.

Livingstone Chief Operations Officer Anthony Davis said the college made the decision based on trends in the pandemic and pathways back to normalcy. The decision covers students, faculty and staff. He said the college will require people be fully vaccinated, which means two shots of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We see the vaccine as being a tool that will help achieve that,” Davis said, adding the goal is to achieve herd immunity on campus.

The announcement was made internally to the college on Monday via a letter from President Jimmy Jenkins.

The college is hosting additional on-campus vaccination clinics for staff and students on Thursday and Friday. The clinics are being run by Gastonia-based Ottendorf Laboratories, which the college holds majority ownership in.

Davis said the vaccine should not just be available; it should be accessible.

The state already requires all college students, whether attending a public, private or religious school, to be vaccinated for diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella.

Davis said it will exempt students from COVID-19 vaccines on religious or medical grounds as is standard practice with other immunizations. The college is working out the logistics of confirming COVID-19 vaccinations, which could include reviewing vaccination cards or other records, he said.

The college plans to continue to address vaccine hesitancy by educating people on the reality of getting the shot and dispelling myths. People may experience flu-like symptoms after receiving a vaccine dose, but the side effects are short lived and adverse reactions are rare.

“At the end of the day, what people need to know is the side effects are not as bad as contracting COVID-19,” Davis said.

Davis said the COVID-19 vaccine requirement is not a tool to manipulate the campus. The goal is to ensure it is a safe place.

Catawba College Dean of Students Jared Tice said the college is “highly recommending” the vaccine to people on campus and is still evaluating requiring the shot for the coming academic year. Tice said the college is contacting the state about recommendations on vaccination for young adults.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community college is not requiring on-campus students to be vaccinated, but is encouraging everyone on campus to consider it.

Livingstone joins Duke University and Wake Forest University among colleges in North Carolina requiring students to be vaccinated.  The University of North Carolina system is currently encouraging, not requiring, students to be vaccinated.

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