The New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark is the latest university in the state to require its students to get the COVID-19 vaccine before they can return to campus.
Students, faculty and staff will be required to get the vaccine before the start of the Fall 2021 semester, NJIT announced in an April 28 statement.
“This decision was made with extensive community feedback and is based upon the recent and continuing expansion of vaccine availability and the scientifically demonstrated efficacy and safety of the vaccines that are available,” said NJIT President Joel Bloom.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be essential for gaining access “to an active campus community that will be functioning at full capacity in classrooms, labs, residence halls, and throughout campus,” Bloom continued.
Princeton, Rutgers, Montclair State University, Stevens Institute of Technology and Fairleigh Dickinson University are requiring students to get vaccinated if they want to return to campus this fall, while the New Jersey Performing Arts Center will require patrons to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 in the past three days.
The Murphy administration is aiming to fully vaccinate 4.7 million adults by June 30, and the state is nearing 3 million people fully vaccinated and 7 million total shots in arms. Most of the delivered shots are from the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and a small percentage from the one-shot Johnson & Johnson inoculation.
State health officials contend that threshold is key to building widespread herd immunity that could curtail the spread of the virus, and in turn, lead to lifting COVID-19 business restrictions en masse.
But interest in getting the vaccine has lagged recently, despite increasingly abundant dosage supply, and state officials are ramping up their efforts to reach that remaining 1.7 million New Jerseyans.
Gov. Phil Murphy suggested earlier this week that the state can expect an “accelerated reopening” as New Jersey ramps up its COVID-19 vaccine efforts and key metrics like daily cases and hospitalizations are brought under control. The latest reopening moves came on April 26, when the governor expanded capacity for outdoor gatherings and outdoor venues like concert halls. Those take effect on May 10.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a much faster reopening timeline for indoor businesses throughout May, but New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will fully lift COVID-19 restrictions by the July Fourth weekend.
New York City can begin offering bar seating May 3, Cuomo announced, but that’s still banned in New Jersey.
“There’s just no other way to put it. We’ll have more news on that on Monday,” the governor said during a COVID-19 press conference on April 28.