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College campuses encourage boosters ahead of next semester, but no mandate yet

"It just makes me feel a little bit safer"
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Posted at 6:05 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 18:05:59-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — More than 20 colleges in parts of the United States have issued booster mandates for the start of next semester, but nothing yet in the Buffalo Niagara region.

However, some local college leaders tell 7 Eyewitness News they continue to encourage boosters.

On the Medaille College campus in Buffalo Thursday just a few students remained on campus as the semester is now ending.

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Taleiah Mann, Medaille College student.

“I am vaccinated,” said Taleiah Mann, Medaille College student.

Student Mann is from Texas and a basketball player at the college. She is fully vaccinated and is eligible for her booster in February.

“I know it's not like a certainty that I’m never going to get COVID, but it just makes me feel a little bit safer,” Mann explained.

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Mask sign on Medaille campus.

“We do not have a vaccine mandate. We've been strongly encouraging all faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated,” remarked Dr. Ken Macur, president, Medaille College.

Medaille College President Dr. Macur says the school is not planning a booster mandate, but encourages students to get vaccinated.

“Why not a vaccine mandate?” Buckley asked.

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Dr. Ken Macur, president, Medaille College.

"We’ve convinced everybody who needs to be convinced or who can be convinced, and for various reasons, there are other individuals who will and remain unconvinced,” replied Dr. Macur.

Macur tells me more than 90% of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated and more than 70% of students have their shots.

“We’re all trying to figure out what we are going to do together in this,” Dr. Macur responded.

At the Daemen College campus in Amherst there is a vaccine mandate for faculty and staff, but not for students. However, the college has been hosting vaccine clinics, encouraging vaccines for students.

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Daemen College campus in Amherst.

“As of right now, we have almost 450 of our campus population have received a booster, plus being fully vaccinated and we're going to continue to educate and move people in that direction,” explained Dr. Greg Nayor, Vice President, strategic initiatives. Daemen.

Dr. Nayor says they have administered more than 2,000 vaccines on campus with 90% of the schools entire population now vaccinated.

Daemen was hosting a campus vaccine clinic Thursday where a staffer rolled up his sleeve for the shot. Another will be held Friday.

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Daemen hosted a vaccine clinic Thursday encouraging vaccines and boosters.

“We have over communicated. We have been very transparent with what we've done and we have educated, educated, incentivized, restricted where we needed to, so if an individual says look, I don't want to get vaccinated — that's fine — but there might be certain you can't do because you don't have that,” remarked Dr. Nayor.

We checked in with other area private colleges and universities.

Niagara University in Niagara Falls said the school is not mandating boosters, but "strongly encourages" it.

A Villa Maria College spokesman in Cheektowaga said the school is “not requiring a booster and still don’t require the vaccine on campus.”

A spokeswomen at Canisius College in Buffalo said they are “not requiring boosters”, but updates for the Spring semester can be found on the college’s website.

All Canisius College students must be fully vaccinated to return for in-person classes January 18.

The University at Buffalo issued a statement saying the booster topic is being discussed.

"UB’s health and safety committee is currently discussing the booster requirement topic with UB leadership. The university is monitoring the omicron variant situation in the state very carefully. We anticipate communicating about booster shot requirements and recommendations for the spring semester to students very soon. Any new requirements UB adopts will be aligned with SUNY policy and with science-based recommendations from the CDC and UB’s own faculty experts. In the meantime, we continue to strongly urge all UB students and employees to get the booster shot as soon as they are time eligible. We are pleased to have had a successful fall semester on campus, due in large part to our robust health and safety protocols and the diligence of our students, faculty and staff."

SUNY also issuing a statement saying it will continue with it’s vaccine mandate on all 64-SUNY campuses, but it “does not include the booster at this time.”

“SUNY students across all 64 campuses have to comply with a vaccine mandate, but it does not include the booster at this time. However, we are working with all campuses to ensure a robust booster education and awareness plan to encourage boosters for those eligible under federal guidance.”

SUNY Spokesperson Jackie Orchard

The following colleges now requiring boosters for the spring semester:

  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
  • Smith College, Massachusetts,
  • Boston University, Boston Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • Wesleyan University, Connecticut a
  • Notre Dame, Indiana