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When Can College Kids Get Vaccinated? Will It Be Required?

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When can young people get vaccinated? 18.8% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. And some colleges are considering making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for students. Rutgers University, Cornell University and Nova Southeastern University, among others, have announced that they will require on-campus students to be vaccinated for the fall 2021 semester. Keep reading to see where different states stand.

Eligibility is expanding across the U.S. 

While the vaccine rollout is largely ahead of schedule, healthy 16+ residents in these states have to wait just a little while longer: 

  • Residents age 16 and older become eligible for the vaccine in Maine and North Carolina on April 7
  • Eligibility opens for all 16+ residents in Illinois on April 12
  • Out-of-state college students must wait until April 30.

Can colleges and universities legally require students to be inoculated against COVID-19 to be on campus? For now, it’s up to the states.

Public health expert and retired epidemiologist Jeffrey Salloway says that vaccinating out-of-state students is the right decision. “They’re living here; they’re working in supermarkets; they’re supporting themselves; they’re living in congregate housing,” he said. “These could all be spreaders of disease.”

But polls show that young people are less likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Some are hesitant because the vaccine is still awaiting FDA approval for regular use. 

May 1 deadline

President Joe Biden has directed all states to make every adult in the U.S. eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine no later than May 1. Hawaii, Oregon and Washington will expand eligibility on May 1

All residents age 16 and older are already eligible in these states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming

For up to date information on COVID-19 and vaccines, visit

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