By Theran Galisa | Staff Writer

This upcoming Fall 2021 semester, the University of Hawaiʻi system (which includes Kapiʻolani Community College) will be requiring on-campus students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“It is clear that a vaccinated campus is a safer campus for everyone, and a fully vaccinated student community enables the best opportunity for a healthy return to high-quality face-to-face teaching, learning and research,” said UH President David Lassner in an email sent out Monday morning. 

The requirement for a vaccine will only take effect if one out of the three COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) that are currently under emergency use authorization has been approved and fully licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The vaccines are projected to be approved by this summer. 

Emergency use authorization was granted for the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 11 and was later granted to Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. This authorization is given by federal regulators who have the power to authorize unapproved medical products in a state of emergency. Given that the authorization only lasts as long as the public health emergency, Pfizer has put down a widespread amount of data to seek full approval by the FDA for the vaccine. 

Persons claiming a medical exemption to immunization requires their physician to sign the Medical Exemption Form. Persons that claim religious exemption to immunization must sign a Religious Exemption Waiver Form. 

UH isn’t the only university to be requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for on-campus learning. The University of California and California State University will also be requiring all on-campus members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, along with Yale and other universities.

The American College Health Association recommends COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all on-campus university students for this upcoming fall semester. 

UH is urging students and employees to sign up now to get vaccinated. UH will be ensuring that there will be vaccination opportunities over the summer and the start of the fall semester for all UH community members.  

“This decision does not come lightly, and is based on guidance from our own Health and Well-Being Working Group as well as the American College Health Association recommendation that all on-campus college students be required to be vaccinated,” Lassner said in the email.