With FDA Vaccine Approval, COVID-19 Added to Schedule of Required Immunizations for Students

August 23, 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and over.  Since December of 2020, the Pfizer vaccine has been available through Emergency Use Authorization, and more than 200 million doses have been administered in the U.S. alone.  

As was explained in my August 3 communication to students, the University of Louisiana System had previously requested that the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), upon full approval by the FDA, add COVID-19 to the schedule of required immunizations for students at Southeastern and other UL System institutions.  LDH granted this request.  

Given today’s FDA approval, COVID-19 is now on the schedule of required immunizations for college students in Louisiana.  Accordingly, I encourage all of our students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Under long-standing State law, the requirement for immunization will be implemented as follows:

Students must provide documentation of immunization against COVID-19 prior to the next registration period.  Alternatively, students may provide one of the following:  1) documentation from a physician of medical contraindication for the vaccine, or 2) a written dissent for taking the vaccine.

The prevailing science tells us our return to normalcy depends on minimizing the impact of COVID-19 in our communities.  The available vaccines help to prevent infection—lessening the spread of the virus, and provide remarkable protection against severe disease—reducing the strain on our healthcare infrastructure.  To date, hundreds of millions of doses of the current COVID-19 vaccines have been administered and have proven to be safe and effective.

Students were notified of the new requirement today, and further instructions on how they will provide documentation of compliance with the updated immunization requirement will be forthcoming shortly. 

I continue to strongly encourage everyone to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.  Additional information about the vaccine and how to get it can be found on the Health Center's website.  Currently, students who are vaccinated on campus are eligible for a $100 gift card through the Louisiana Department of Health, as well as other giveaways and drawings for scholarships and other prizes, including an iPad, MacBook Pro and Bose earbuds. 

John L. Crain