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UConn's non-medical vaccine exemption met with criticism from students and healthcare advocates

The University initially required mandatory vaccines in order to come back to school for the fall, but their policy was challenged with a lawsuit.

MANSFIELD, Connecticut — UConn has approved more than 500 unvaccinated students to return to campus this fall. 

Recently filed court documents showed they were granted exemptions from the University's requirement for non-medical reasons. 

The University initially required mandatory vaccines in order to come back to school for the fall, but their policy was challenged with a lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, it argued, "imposing mandatory vaccinations as a condition for attending UConn violates their Fourth Amendment procedural due process" and it went on to say it violated state and federal laws that gives individuals an option to choose. 

That is how Katrell Clay felt; while he is vaccinated, he believed it should not be forced. 

"The vaccine is new and not a lot of people are comfortable with putting something into their body that there's not a whole lot of research on it but at the end of the day it's only been out for a year," said Clay, a senior at UConn. 

Ted Doolittle, a state healthcare advocate said he is worried as these exemptions could mean getting the vaccinated infected too. 

"Now they'll be around vaccinated people and we now know the vaccinated people can carry the virus too. Again, my concern is for the safety of these vaccinated students," said Doolittle of the CT State Office of the Healthcare Advocate. 

The University's spokesperson said students who are vaccinated must show proof of their card to student health and wellness. 

Their most recent figures showed over 90-percent of on-campus students are vaccinated, a percentage they expect to keep increasing.

Governor Lamont expressed his concern about UConn's decision at a news conference on Wednesday. 

"We've got to sit down and talk to UConn about this. Look, people live in a congregate setting at UConn. They live in a congregate setting ... all our colleges ... really important for all our colleges to get back, an overwhelmingly amount is vaccinated so I do worry there's a lot of leakage there," said Lamont. 

Even with strict guidelines, the unvaccinated must follow, some students said it still would make them uncomfortable. 

"There's a level of uneasiness still because you can say you're getting quarantined and say you'll put your mask on but there's really no guarantee," said Jones, a senior at UConn. 

UConn's spokesperson told FOX61 if students want to wait to get their vaccine until they arrived on campus, they can do so, and following up with those students, the University said a majority of them plan to. 


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