FRESNO, Calif. -- Those attending a California State University (CSU) or a University of California (UC) this fall will need to add something else to their back-to-school list - a COVID-19 vaccination shot.
"This is just another communicable disease that represents a health hazard to a large number of people in the communities, so it makes sense they would require vaccinations," said Dr. Rais Vohra with the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
The new policy would impact millions of CSU and UC employees and students across 33 campuses.
This will take effect at the start of the fall semester or once one of the three emergency authorized vaccines become fully approved by the FDA, whichever comes first.
"The data suggests that the vaccine is extremely effective at slowing transmission and certainly at protecting the individual that gets the vaccine from severe disease and hospitalization," said Michelle Brinkop, UC Merced Student Health Medical Director.
At UC Merced, staff and faculty have been getting vaccinated though clinics on campus.
Brinkop said they're now moving to students.
She said since the pandemic, positivity rates on campus have been very minimal and the new policy will help keep it that way.
"A lot of our younger students have asymptomatic disease, meaning they have disease where they don't have any symptoms," she said. "They do not know they are sick and they don't know that they're spreading it."
University officials say students or employees could be exempt based on medical or religious grounds.
More details on the vaccination policy will be released as we approach fall.