Gov. Cuomo wants all New York college students vaccinated by fall semester

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that New York’s public college students attending in-person classes this fall will be required to be fully vaccinated before the start of the semester.

He is encouraging private schools to adopt the same rules for their students. Cornell University, Ithaca College and Syracuse University announced earlier this spring they are requiring their students to be vaccinated before the start of the fall 2021 semester.

“Young people are not getting vaccinated. Why? They were never the focus, they weren’t even eligible early on,” Gov. Cuomo said Monday during a press briefing in New York City. “Everyone said the young people can get it and they’re going to be fine. There was a transmission risk, but this whole COVID was introduced as young people really don’t have to worry about it. And then we reinforced that when we said the eligibility was by age.”

Cuomo said both the City University and the State University of New York governing boards would be making the announcements soon.

“Today, no excuses. SUNY and CUNY boards will require vaccinations for all in-person students coming back to school in the fall. You’re a young person. You go to a SUNY school, State University of New York, City University of New York, you must have a vaccine to come back in September. If you must have a vaccine, get it now, if you have to get it anyway,” the governor said.

“I also encourage private schools to do the same thing. Let’s make a global statement. You cannot go back to school in person in September unless you have a vaccine. That will be a major motivation for people to get the vaccine. And if you have to get it by September, you may as well get it now. Why wouldn’t you get it now? OK?”

At the same event Monday, the governor said he would be introducing legislation making it illegal to discriminate against those who have been vaccinated.

“There are some situations where people are discriminating against people who got a vaccine, which is almost inexplicable to me. There’s a situation with summer camps saying if you are vaccinated, you cannot go to that camp. If you’re vaccinated, you can’t be a staff member at that camp,” Cuomo said.

“We can’t be in a situation where we we’re full-throated encouraging people to get a vaccine and then have people saying if you get a vaccine, you can’t participate in this activity.

“I want to propose a law that says you can’t discriminate against a person who has a vaccine. I understand the anti-vaccine argument very well – we’ve been through this before, [State Health Commissioner ] Dr. Zucker and I, when we mandated the measles vaccine a couple of years ago. I understand the anti-vaccine argument. In my opinion, there is no science to it. There is no science to it. You can have a theory, you can have a belief, but you can’t use that to make public policy without science and without data.”