Story at a glance

  • Cuomo said the mandate for the State University of New York and City University of New York is part of a broader effort to boost vaccination rates.
  • The mandate affects about 424,000 SUNY students and 274,000 CUNY students.
  • The governor noted vaccinations could only be mandated for students if the vaccines receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration before the fall semester.

New York state’s public colleges and universities will require coronavirus vaccinations for all students returning to campus this fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced Monday. 

During a news briefing, Cuomo said the mandate for the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) is part of a broader effort to boost vaccination rates that have slowed in recent weeks. 


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“Today, no excuses. SUNY and CUNY boards will require vaccinations for all in-person students coming back to school in the fall,” he said. 

“If you must have a vaccine, get it now if you have to get it anyway. I also encourage private schools to do the same thing. Let’s make a global statement: you cannot go back to school in person in September unless you have a vaccine,” he added. 

The mandate affects about 424,000 SUNY students and 274,000 CUNY students.

The governor noted vaccinations could only be mandated for students if the vaccines receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before the fall semester. Currently, vaccines in the U.S. are being distributed under emergency authorization. Pfizer and BioNTech last week requested full approval from the FDA. It’s unclear when exactly approval would be granted.

Prominent private schools in New York like Cornell University and New York University are already requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for returning students. 

Cuomo also announced several subway stations will be administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot starting Wednesday, and riders who become vaccinated will be given a free seven-day subway pass. 


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Published on May 11, 2021