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Iowa students react to Board of Regents not requiring vaccines

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U of I students walking around campus on Monday April 13

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) - Iowa Board of Regents President Michael Richards ended any speculation that vaccines would be required on Iowa university campuses on Wednesday.

Richards read a statement aloud to the BOR during a morning meeting, announcing they would only encourage staff and students get vaccinated.

Other large universities like Rutgers, Notre Dame and Duke have announced vaccines will be mandatory for anyone learning in-person this fall. While Notre Dame and Duke are private colleges, Rutgers is public.

University of Iowa students had different opinions on the decision that afternoon.

"Having an entire university expect all of its kids --regardless of religious beliefs or etc.-- to get this vaccine that had only been researched for a certain amount of time…it's a stretch," student Tyler Mroz said.

Several students said it would have been hard to imagine the regents making a different decision, given the recent pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"I have a lot of friends saying, 'Well, not yet. It hasn't been around long enough for me,'" student Ethan Miera said, who is fully-vaccinated.

There are also many students who wish the BOR had required vaccines; saying it would make them feel more comfortable resuming some traditions like fans at Kinnick Stadium.

"I'm looking forward to being back in Kinnick and going to games but to know that everybody around me would be vaccinated would also be like a huge peace of mind," Natalie Tapscott said, a freshman from Decorah who got her first dose of Pfizer Wednesday.

University of Iowa Health Care also made vaccines only "encouraged" in December. As of Wednesday night, 12,841 UIHC employees or 85% of the workforce is fully-vaccinated.

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Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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