ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For more than a year, the University of New Mexico (UNM) has required COVID-19 vaccines for students, staff, and faculty. But that mandate might be lifted soon.
The university’s vaccine mandate has been in place since August 5, 2021. At the time the mandate was put in place, students had mixed reactions. Now, the school is looking to get student feedback on the proposed mandate lift.
“With the recommendations and reasoning of our Health Protocols Committee at front of mind, and after further discussion with UNM administrative and constituent leaders, I am taking under serious consideration a proposal to lift UNM’s mandate requiring the COVID-19 primary vaccine series for students and employees,” UNM President, Garnett S. Stokes, said in a press release.
Some students feel the mandate should stay in place because they believe it will continue to help keep COVID cases down on campus. “To be honest I haven’t really seen a lot of people that have gotten COVID here so far that probably I’m sure is contributed in part to the fact that there is a vaccine mandate,” said Seth Lewis, UNM student.
Thursday, February 16, (at noon) the school will host a virtual forum on the issue. Medical experts and campus administrators will explain the reasoning behind the proposal. Comments and questions can be submitted in advance, but the deadline for submission is 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 10. Submissions can be sent via this online form.
“While we know that COVID-19 is not over and that we must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves against the virus, it is transitioning into a more manageable endemic phase in our state and across the country,” Stokes said. “As our understanding of the virus and the ways in which we manage it evolve, we are continuing to adhere to the science-based decision-making process we have followed from the very beginning of the pandemic.”
Even if the mandate is lifted, certain UNM facilities will continue to require COVID-19 vaccines, according to UNM. Those include Health Sciences facilities, such as clinical areas.
UNM enrollment was up this school year for the first time in 10 years, but that has been credited to the opportunity scholarship. During the height of COVID restrictions, enrollment was down almost 10%.