SUNY system Covid vaccine mandate ends

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr., at SUNY Canton in February. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

The State University of New York college system has ended its emergency Covid-19 vaccine mandate, a day after President Joe Biden ended the U.S. emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic.

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr., announced Tuesday it is no longer mandatory for students to be vaccinated in order to attend classes at all 64 campuses across the state.

“The safety of SUNY’s students is our first and foremost priority, and while COVID is no longer an emergency, we will not lose sight of the impact it continues to have on us,” King said in a statement. “Across SUNY we will continue to monitor cases and make adjustments as needed, but even more importantly, we will look to increase the overall health and wellness support we provide our students.”

WBNG reports the decision, made in conjunction with New York state health officials, will go into effect for summer classes and following semesters. Approximately 77.5% of New Yorkers ages 18-25 have completed their primary vaccination series, along with 79.8% of people ages 26-34.

Biden signed a bipartisan congressional resolution Monday, ending the nation’s Covid emergency declaration weeks before it was scheduled to expire on May 11. The Associated Press notes many measures had already been phased out, but changes include the Department of Housing and Urban Development ending its mortgage forbearance program and the Department of Veterans Affairs returning to a requirement for in-home visits to determine eligibility for caregiver assistance.

More than 1.13 million people in the U.S. died from Covid over the past three years, according to the CDC, including 1,773 people last week. The World Health Organization has not declared the pandemic over.

As of Friday, only 13 counties in the nation have high Covid community levels, according to the CDC. None are in New York, where most counties are at low levels.

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