The University of New Mexico announced it will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations of its faculty staff and students to help protect the health, safety and welfare of the UNM campus community. The mandate received unanimous approval from the UNM Board of Regents.
“Due to growing concerns over COVID-19 variants and a rise in infections, we have determined that the ‘aspirational’ approach we initially adopted—to encourage, though not require vaccination—is no longer sufficient to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the UNM community,” said UNM President Garnett S. Stokes. “I asked the UNM Board of Regents to approve a mandatory vaccination policy, requiring all Lobo students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated as quickly as possible, but no later than Thursday, September 30.”
The UNM Board of Regents, in a special meeting held Thursday, Aug. 5,
unanimously passed the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The mandate applies to all UNM personnel and students who access UNM facilities, housing, programs, services, and activities located on the Main Campus and Academic Health Sciences Campus in Albuquerque and the Branch Campuses at Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos, and Valencia. Campus facilities include, but are not limited to, office buildings, libraries, classrooms, dormitories, research laboratories, dining facilities, student centers, athletics facilities, gymnasiums and university buses and shuttles.
This mandate does not apply to employees of UNM Hospitals, UNM Medical Group and the Sandoval Regional Medical Center, as these UNM entities already have specific policies pertaining to their employees and facilities. The University will make accommodations for those individuals who will not be able to get vaccinated, due to disability, medical condition, or sincere religious belief.
UNM had a vaccination requirement under consideration, and earlier this year, issued a draft policy for public comment, which was discussed at a number of public meetings and town halls. On July 8, UNM opted not to require vaccination with an optimistic approach, and the addition of incentive programs would sufficiently inspire the Lobo community to get fully vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, as infections have increased around the state and the nation, our vaccination rate has not kept pace in a manner sufficient to ensure we can protect our community from a similar outbreak,” said Stokes. “In short, with cases of COVID and its variants slowly increasing, if we wish to return to a fully operational campus in a manner that protects the safety of our community, encouraging vaccination and mask-wearing is not enough.”
All employees and students must provide documentation of full vaccination using a vaccine authorized by FDA License or under an FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). International students vaccinated with a vaccine from the World Health Organization Emergency Use List (EUL) may submit documentation of that vaccination; these students are recommended to be vaccinated again upon arrival in New Mexico using an FDA-approved vaccine and subsequently submit documentation of that vaccination. A website for the purpose of these uploads will be available. Employees and students that have already provided proof of vaccine status are not required to resubmit proof documents.
While this new mandate goes into effect on Aug. 5, individuals who upload proof of full vaccination by Sept. 30 will continue to be eligible for the previously announced Vax the Pack incentives. In addition, the State of New Mexico recently announced that any New Mexico resident who gets vaccinated by Aug. 31 will receive $100.
New Mexicans aged 12 and up are eligible for a free vaccine, so if you have not yet done so, schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine at a location near you. It’s safe and easy, but if you need more information on vaccines and how they work, the UNM #10to100 website can help answer your questions.
Additionally, last week, UNM revised its mask-wearing policy on July 29 following the recommendations from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by requiring everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask indoors at all UNM locations in Albuquerque, Taos, Valencia, McKinley, and Sandoval. This masking policy went into effect on Monday, Aug. 2.
For more information, visit COVID-19 vaccination mandate.