ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico now says all students, staff, and faculty must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Just last month UNM President garnett stokes said vaccines would not be mandatory, but with the rise in cases and the delta variant, things have changed.

Story continues below:

The mandate requires everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible and no later than Sept. 30. The announcement is getting mixed reactions from students. “Overall I feel like it’s the right choice, especially with the way case numbers are going up,” says student John Matthews. 

On the other hand, Antonia Anderson disagrees. “I think it’s unfair, I think people should be able to say why they don’t want to get the vaccine. Some people have beliefs on vaccines, some people don’t get the flu shots, stuff like that so I think it should be handled the same way.”

Students, staff, and faculty can upload their vaccine cards from the New Mexico Department of Health or other states to verify that they have received their shots. UNM says people can get an exemption for medical or religious reasons but will have to undergo regular surveillance testing. “There is also an exemption, or a temporary exemption I should say for those who may not want to receive the vaccination while it is still in emergency use authorization status, but that exemption will no longer apply once the FDA has approved the vaccines,” explains Cinnamon Blair, UNM’s chief communication & marketing officer. 

The plan is expected to take effect following the Board of Regents’ meeting on Thursday. it applies to UNM’s main campus as well as its four branch campuses. According to the department of health, 48% of people 18 to 24 are vaccinated with at least one dose. UNM says as of yesterday, nearly 9,000 Lobos are already vaccinated.

New Mexico State University has announced it is requiring employees to be fully vaccinated by the end of September, or have them begin undergoing weekly testing. They are discussing vaccination and testing requirements for students.

ENMU-Roswell is requiring face masks to be worn indoors by all individuals, vaccinated and unvaccinated. It’s unclear if there will be a vaccine requirement there in the future.