The University System of Maryland will require coronavirus vaccines for everyone on campus this fall.

University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay Perman said in a statement Friday that all eligible students, faculty and staff must be vaccinated, barring exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

“If we examine the data — and there is an extraordinary accumulation of data — we see that the risk of vaccines is very low, whereas the risk of [COVID-19] is very high,” Perman said in the statement. “And that risk is increasingly falling on young people. This is no longer a disease for the old. The data on the new COVID cases in Maryland show that 40 percent are patients under 40 years old.”

The chancellor said the decision — made after consulting the system’s presidents and on the recommendations of a work group consisting of public health and emergency-management experts — was largely driven by newer, more contagious strains of the virus that are increasingly affecting younger people.

“We’ve been living with COVID for so long now that we forget we’re still in the middle of a public health emergency,” he said. “But these variants — and the increasing disease burden in young people — are reminding us again that we’re not out of the woods. And I’m convinced that the risk of doing too little to contain COVID on campus this fall is far greater than the risk of doing too much.”

University officials said they will abide by the public health guidelines from Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland.

Other Washington-area institutions including Georgetown, George Washington and American universities will also require students to be vaccinated for the fall.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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