LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — COVID-19 shots are now required in order to attend college on campuses in Nevada.
The Nevada Board of Health unanimously approved the vaccine mandate for students on Friday. Board members say if you are registering for the spring semester, you'll have to show proof of vaccination.
This applies to all colleges and universities in the Nevada System of Higher Education.
The mandate has been in question for many months but after further evaluation and help from medical leaders, the requirement was approved.
Brian Labus, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas epidemiologist, says the decision is the best solution to keep everyone safe.
“We have tried the mask and social distancing and that only gets us part of the way. Vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of disease transmission,” said Labus.
The vaccine mandate will go into effect on Nov. 1. Labus says it should not be a surprise for students.
“We do this for other vaccines, this is not the first vaccine that we are requiring students to have," he said. "We do it for measles and a host of other things so we will be requiring them the same way we have other vaccines."
Some students at UNLV were shocked to find out the mandate was approved. For Jennifer Buys, it raises concerns about her health. She says the decision should be up to her.
“It makes me skeptical, especially after taking a look at all the things that pop up all over the internet and the fact that it is not FDA approved,” Buys said.
Other students have been looking forward to being inside the classroom and having in-person interactions with their professors. Tiana Joy Pastor says this has been long overdue and that distance learning has hindered her education.
“The goal is just to get everyone in a safe environment so that we can learn more effectively,” said Pastor.
Destiny White, another student at the university, says COVID requirements should be no different than the vaccine requirements already in place since elementary school. She says the new policy adds another layer of protection for students that want to return.
“I want to go back in the classroom and meet new people again, we have all been hidden at home for a while and I’m kind of sick of that,” White explained.
To help with this new mandate, the Nevada System of Higher Education will be working with medical leaders to regularly host free COVID-19 vaccination clinics on campus throughout the fall semester.
Students have been moving into residency halls this week. Classes for the 2021 fall semester are scheduled to start next week.