TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — A COVID-19 vaccination could become mandatory for University of Arizona students by fall semester.
“I really favor mandating it both COVID-19, but also for influenza vaccine and all the things we commonly do,” said University President Dr. Robert Robbins.
Robbins says a final decision has not been made yet. Former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona acknowledged the controversy.
“It’s the right of the individual to their privacy versus the right of society to stay safe,” he said. “And we’re trying to balance those two. And it is very, very difficult.”
The university is strictly a Pfizer POD, but Carmona says the Johnson and Johnson shot has caused an unwarranted amount of vaccine hesitancy. He says the complications surrounding that shot can be treated and are exceedingly rare.
“It adds fuel to the fire of people who do not believe, the people that are conspiracy theorists, and people who do not trust the government. And we had a long discussion about this with the president. We are talking 6 cases out of 7 million. It is infinitesimally small.”
Carmona and Robbins say increased vaccinations and continued social distancing will be needed for some time before the pandemic can be considered close to over.
“We are going to need to continue this through the summer and probably into the fall with all these mitigation efforts because we are not out of the woods by a long shot yet,” said Robbins.
The university is expected to remain in stage 3 of its re-entry plan this week, and next week with up to 100 students in a classroom.