Just two weeks before the Fall 2021 semester began on Aug. 23, Temple University announced that all students, faculty, staff and contractors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15, a change from the university’s announcement earlier this summer that it would relax its COVID-19 guidelines, The Temple News reported.
The Editorial Board urges all students who are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to do so. Students who are already fully vaccinated should monitor their own health and be proactive in disproving misinformation about the vaccine, especially by having conversations with peers who are vaccine-hesitant.
To be vaccinated by the Oct. 15 deadline, students must get their first shots by Sept. 3 for the Pfizer vaccine, Sept. 10 for the Moderna vaccine and Oct. 1 for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Temple only considers students fully vaccinated when they have uploaded their vaccine card to the Student Health Portal, The Temple News reported.
The Editorial Board commends Temple for requiring masks and vaccines but acknowledges that students must be responsible and advocate for public health to accelerate the end of the pandemic.
In a May 2021 editorial, the Editorial Board urged students to be aware of their vaccine eligibility and to take the opportunity to get vaccinated when they become eligible.
The United States has since reached a point where vaccines are significantly more accessible and still free. Those who go unvaccinated continue to perpetuate the spread of the outbreak, which will put more people unnecessarily at risk.
While Temple has made efforts to restore Main Campus to pre-pandemic activity, the Temple community will not truly be safe on campus until everyone is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Students who do not upload their COVID-19 vaccination cards by the Oct. 15 deadline and have not filed out an exemption form may be excluded from university premises like residence halls and face university sanctions, Temple announced on Aug. 16.
Students should hold considerate conversations with their vaccine-hesitant peers to help them understand and avoid the consequences of not being fully vaccinated.
Students can find guides on having conversations with vaccine hesitant individuals and finding credible sources of information about the vaccine on the CDC website.
As the Delta variant surges across the country, COVID-19 cases have risen sharply among unvaccinated people, and fully vaccinated people can still spread the virus, The Washington Post reported. This means fully vaccinated people must continue monitoring themselves for COVID-19 symptoms, and quarantining and getting tested if they are experiencing any symptoms, according to the CDC.
The CDC website has a Coronavirus Self-Checker tool to help individuals 13 and older tell whether they should seek medical care if they suspect they or someone they know has COVID-19.
Three-quarters of students living on campus have submitted their basic immunization requirements, of which 92 percent have submitted their COVID-19 vaccine card to the student health portal, The Temple News reported on Aug. 23.
Though in-person classes and pre-pandemic activities have largely resumed, the COVID-19 pandemic still poses a threat to Temple students, staff and the North Philadelphia community. Students should actively work to prevent COVID-19’s spread by getting vaccinated if they are not already, talking to their peers about receiving the vaccines and monitoring their health.