Fordham Omicron Booster Mandate Sparks Protests

The Bronx, New York, university announced late last month that it would require students, staff, and faculty to receive the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster.

Published October 19, 2022

Edited by Darlene Earnest
Fordham Omicron Booster Mandate Sparks Protests
COVID-19
Photo by Barry Winiker / The Image Bank Unreleased / Getty Images

  • Fordham set a deadline of Nov. 1 for students, faculty, and staff to get the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster.
  • Some in the university community have pushed back against the requirement with petitions, letters, and an Oct. 14 protest.
  • It's unclear what consequences university community members will face if they don't comply with Fordham's bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster requirement.

Fordham University is getting pushback on its requirement that students, faculty, and staff get a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster by Nov. 1.

Around 30 protesters held a rally at the Bronx, New York, university last Friday, according to The Fordham Ram. Beyond general opposition to vaccine mandates, at issue for many of the protesters was that the university announced the booster requirement after the start of the fall semester.

On Sept. 28, Fordham announced it would require that its community members receive the bivalent booster to be considered "up to date" with their COVID-19 vaccinations. The university is giving all students, faculty, and staff until Nov. 1 to receive the bivalent booster, which is currently available at Fordham.

Last week's protests were the latest backlash from the announcement.

“On Sept. 28, Fordham announced it would require that its community members receive the bivalent booster to be considered "up to date" with their COVID-19 vaccinations.”

More than 100 faculty members signed a petition opposing the requirement. And a group of students, parents, faculty, and staff calling themselves Fordham Together sent an open letter to university President Tania Tetlow arguing against the mandate.

The faculty petition argues that Fordham's requirement is unjust because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only recommends the COVID-19 vaccine booster as effective for protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and dying.

"University leadership should not have the power to convert such recommendations into requirements merely because it fears that some members of our community may fall ill if allowed to exercise their own judgment," the faculty petition said. "A realm of personal medical discretion and privacy must be preserved."

The CDC recommends that people ages 5 and older receive one bivalent booster if it's been at least two months since their last primary or original booster shot.

Fordham on its webpage outlining fall 2022 protocols does not detail what, if any, consequences university community members will face if they don't comply with the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster requirement.