Emory University mandates COVID booster shots for students, staff

Emory University announced Thursday that it will require all employees, faculty and students to get a COVID-19 booster shot within the next month.

Emory, the state’s largest private university, has become one of the biggest schools in Georgia to order booster shots. It has more than 32,000 employees and about 15,000 students.

President Gregory Fenves said in a letter the university is requiring the shots because of the increased spread of COVID-19 nationwide and the emerging omicron variant.

“With more than 97% of students, faculty, and staff currently vaccinated, we have kept our campus healthy,” Fenves wrote. “The booster is the next step in an evolving public health strategy that has seen us adapt to every new development in the pandemic to continue the learning, teaching, and discovery that define Emory.”

More than two dozen colleges and universities nationwide have required booster shots, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Most are private universities located in the northeast, such as Boston, Bucknell and New York universities.

Some colleges have had trouble keeping the virus under control. Cornell University officials this week closed the campus after nearly 1,000 students tested positive during four days in mid-December.

Those not eligible for the booster by the deadline must receive and report their booster shot within two weeks of becoming eligible. Emory will extend exemptions for students, faculty and employees who have previously received an exemption.