The University of Louisiana at Lafayette requires students to take one of the three COVID-19 vaccines to register for Winter Intersession 2021 and Spring 2022. With the end of the semester approaching, student and faculty vaccination rates have greatly increased.

After the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine in August, the university released a mandate requiring students to submit a form of documentation to prove they are vaccinated or exempt from the vaccine due to medical or personal reasons. 

According to a report sent from Eric Maron, the senior communications representative at UL Lafayette, over 70% of the students are either vaccinated or partially vaccinated, while over 15% of students have provided exemption documentation. Approximately 80% of faculty and staff are either fully or partially vaccinated. 

The university has also taken incentive efforts to motivate students to get vaccinated. 

Deja Johnson, a senior majoring in psychology pre-med, received $100 from the university for taking the vaccine. 

According to Johnson, she understands why some people would be upset about taking the shot because it’s their body and their choice; however, she shared how if a student wants to keep going to school here, then they need to take the vaccine. 

“The way I see it is that we’ve been taking required vaccines for school our whole life, this is just a more recent one to limit people catching COVID,” Johnson said. 

Advising has started for students, therefore, the time to get vaccinated or exempt from vaccination to continue as a full-time student in the winter and spring semesters is getting shorter.

Registration for the upcoming semesters starts on Monday, Nov. 1.

Although some students see why others are hesitant to take the vaccine, they feel as though this is the way to create a safer campus. 

“I think it’s a good idea and am glad that the university is taking those measures to make sure the campus can be as COVID-free as possible,” Junior Political Science major Taylor Blocker said. 

“The university has given people plenty of time to do their research and get prepared,” Junior Broadcasting major Raven Little said. 

Some students shared how if some people felt there was an issue with getting vaccinated, they could turn to the alternative option and get exempt. 

“It’s still not difficult to exempt yourself from being required to get it,” Connor Long, a senior majoring in political science, said. 

According to the university website, “Even if you opt to request an exemption now, you can still decide to receive the vaccine later and update your vaccination status with the University at that time.”

Students can go to the COVID-19 vaccination and testing site on campus on Rex Street in the old bookstore from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the week.