Eastern now to require COVID-19 vaccination
University switches course after previously saying it wouldn't require shot
Last updated 6/3/2021 at 4:56pm
CHENEY - Eastern Washington University has switched gears and is now requiring students, faculty and staff to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
The revised policy and reasons behind it were highlighted in a June 3 email from interim President David May to the campus community. May previously announced in a May 6 email that the university would not be requiring vaccinations - allowing students, faculty and staff to make a personal decision about receiving one of the three shots available.
In announcing the recent change to requiring a coronavirus vaccination, May said the decision was made after extensive consultations with not only health and safety experts but also the campus community at large. He also pointed to new recommendations from the American College Health Association released on May 25 that Eastern Director of Masters in Public Health program Dr. David Line had brought up during recent discussions.
Line was supportive of the university's previous decision not to require vaccinations. In making the change, May said the university remains committed to raising awareness on the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine, providing incentives to get vaccinated and easing access to those vaccines.
"That will remain the focus in the coming weeks and months," May wrote. "However, continual reevaluation of the best advice from experts is necessary as we deal with a fluid and nuanced emergence from the pandemic. At this point, as the situation and information has evolved, I understand that it is in the best interest of the full university community to add a requirement for vaccinations to the incentives that are already in place."
The requirement to receive a Covid-19 shot before returning in the fall will follow already established university practices for vaccinations, including exemptions for religious and medical reasons. The university has set up an incentive program - including prizes such as a drawing for a year of free tuition - to encourage students to receive the vaccine.