NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS) — Rutgers University is requiring students enrolled for the 2021 fall semester to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. The decision comes after assurances from the federal government that the vaccine will be available for all Americans by the end of May.

“We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students,” Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said.

Students can request an exemption from the vaccination for medical or religious reasons.

Any student enrolled in a fully remote online degree program and individuals participating in online-only continuing education programs will not be required to get the vaccine.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have said that the safety of the Rutgers community is a shared responsibility,” Antonio Calcado, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Rutgers, said. “An effective vaccination program is a continuation of Rutgers’ commitment to health and safety for all members of our community of more than 71,000 students, the cities we are in and the communities we serve throughout New Jersey.”

Rutgers has received approval from the State of New Jersey to administer vaccines on campus to faculty, staff and students once vaccine supplies are available. More information will be released at a later date.

“We urge all members of our community to pre-register for the vaccine on the state COVID-19 website to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity and the first available location,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for health affairs at Rutgers.

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