ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Students are back on UNM’s campus today for their first day of classes. The university isn’t cutting back on their COVID-19 requirements. In order to be considered fully vaccinated – all UNM students and employees must have completed an initial vaccine series as well as their initial booster dose. 

Sophia Dendy is starting her freshman year at UNM. “I could not fully register for any of my classes until I had my booster, which I had no idea about, because you know information is thrown at us freshman, and we don’t know what’s going on, and we’re trying to pick up as much information as possible.”

“I think the vaccine requirement is a good thing because it helps everyone stay in school, the people who want to be in school, but you shouldn’t have to get a booster if you don’t want to,” Mackenzie Bailey shared.

Another UNM student, Colby Shin, said, “I know people who just don’t like taking it at all, and they’re really mad about it, and I know others who are more than happy to take it.”

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There are mixed feelings on campus regarding getting a required COVID booster shot, but some students say it’s frustrating that other higher education institutions in the state, like NMSU and CNM, aren’t requiring one. 

There are some medical and religious exemptions that are outlined on UNM’s COVID portal, and UNM is also recommending students wear masks in counties that are considered high activity on the CDC map. The deadline for students to submit their COVID vaccination documents is September 30th. 

“People will be on different schedules depending on when they were vaccinated to have a booster, so a lot of people have already registered in our portal that they have their booster shot, so it’s really just going to depend on where they are in vaccination process of if they have received an exemption,” Cinnamon Blair, UNM’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer explained.

Again if a student fails to submit COVID vaccination records, including a booster shot – a hold will be put on registering for future semesters. Right now, it’s unclear what will happen once additional booster shots are available and FDA-approved for the new COVID variants. 

As of today, according to UNM’s COVID dashboard, more than 26,000 students, staff, and employees have provided proof of receiving a booster shot.