Board: Mississippi public universities can't mandate COVID-19 vaccine

The board of trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning has voted to ban public universities from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.

Caron Blanton, communications director for the group, said the vote took place on Friday during an annual retreat.

Medical center mandates for the vaccine will remain in effect, the board said.

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“Except for clinical settings within institutions, centers, departments, and programs, institutions are directed to refrain from mandating the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of enrollment or employment,” the motion states.

Passage of last week's motion follows an Aug. 27 meeting where the board voted against requiring public universities to mandate the vaccine.

The August vote led to confusion with schools that were unsure if they could still enact their own requirements. The vote on Friday replaced that month's motion. 

Many public universities across the country have implemented vaccine mandates, with some schools disenrolling students who fail to comply.

Vaccine mandates have become more commonplace following the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration.

--Updated 9/22/2021 at 3:16 p.m.