University Removes Booster Requirement Starting September

New rules require two doses of vaccine, negating the booster requirement for many.

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By Nikhil Jaiswal

The University of Chicago announced on Tuesday that it will no longer require students and employees to receive more than two COVID-19 vaccine doses, effective September 16. 

Members of the University community are now only required to submit proof of receiving two doses of Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization approved COVID-19 vaccines. Those who do not will automatically be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing while on campus. 

This shift in policy means that students and employees who received a full primary course of Moderna, Pfizer, Norovax, or other two dose vaccines will no longer need to receive booster shots. Those who received single dose vaccine courses—like Johnson and Johnson’s—will still be required to submit proof of a booster dose to meet the University's two shot requirement.

Unvaccinated students will now be automatically enrolled in the weekly surveillance testing program and longer need University approvals for exemptions from the vaccine mandate.

University officials wrote in the email that the policy changes were made “with the guidance of experts at the University of Chicago Medicine,” without illuminating the reasoning behind the decisions. 

UChicago previously required all students and employees to either receive a full primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine and a booster or apply for an exemption. When that requirement was announced in December of last year, the University revealed that 98% of faculty and 97% of students had been fully vaccinated.

The last major change to the University’s COVID-19 policies came in April when the University lifted its classroom mask requirement. That decision elicited both criticism and applause and was followed by a substantial increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate on campus. Shortly after, many students reported being turned away from University COVID-19 testing sites.

Last week, Illinois saw the highest number of new cases since May as the BA.5 strain became the dominant and most transmissible COVID-19 variant in the country last month.