Board: Public universities cannot require COVID-19 vaccine

Mississippi University for Women (MUW, The W) is a public, co-educational university in Columbus.

The board that governs Mississippi’s public universities is prohibiting schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students and staff.

Posted: Sep 22, 2021 1:06 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The board that governs Mississippi's public universities has voted to prohibit schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students and staff.

The Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning took the vote on Friday, said Caron Blanton, communications director for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. At an earlier meeting on Aug. 27, the board voted not to require public university students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Board members decided to vote again because there was confusion about whether officials at individual schools could choose to mandate the shots if they wished to, Blanton said.

“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 new motion passed Friday reads.

The clinical exception means that the policy adopted by the University of Mississippi Medical Center, which already announced that it will require students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1, will stay in place.

Friday's meeting took place during the board's annual retreat away from Jackson. It was not livestreamed, so the public could not hear what was discussed.

During the livestreamed August meeting, nine board members said the vaccine should not be mandated. Many said they support students getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but that shots should be voluntary.

The board's two physician members, Dr. Alfred McNair Jr. and Dr. Steven Cunningham, were the only two board members who voted to mandate vaccinations.

Mississippi’s public universities already mandate that students be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, according to Institutions of Higher Learning bylaws. Students studying in a health-related field must be vaccinated against hepatitis B.

Some Mississippi cities, including the capital of Jackson, have required workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Jackson Mayor Antar Lumumba extended a deadline for city workers to show proof of vaccination until Oct. 15.

The extension also applies to contractors and subcontractors who are paid in whole or in part from funds provided under a city contract, WLBT-TV reported.

Those who choose not to provide proof of vaccination must undergo weekly testing at their own expense. Employees who don’t show their vaccination status must also wear masks at all times while at work.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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