Parents, students react to vaccination requirement for Nevada college students


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada Board of Health has approved COVID-19 vaccination requirements for college and university students, voting unanimously last week to approve the mandate.

The vaccine requirement for students takes effect in a few months.

One father argues that it should be his son’s choice whether or not to get vaccinated.

“I don’t think it’s right,” said Tony Marquez, who is upset about the decision. His son goes to Nevada State College in Henderson.

Now Marquez says the system is holding people’s livelihoods hostage.

“The money, energy and sacrifice people have gone through to just go to school and they want to say no you can’t come back unless you take the shot,” he said.

State health officials say students need to show proof of vaccination by Nov. 1 in order to enroll for the Spring 2022 semester.

In a statement last week, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said, “To all the higher education students out there, if you have not yet done so, I want to encourage those who plan to attend in-person learning to get your COVID-19 vaccination before returning to campus.”

After a four-hour meeting where officials heard from Nevada students, the board decided to put the vaccine requirement into place for the Nevada System of Higher Education’s campuses. That includes UNLV, Nevada State College, UNR and the College of Southern Nevada.

Before the vote, students from all over the state voiced their opinions. Some were in favor of the madate, while others described it as a violation of their human rights.

Student Kathlyn Howley said, “I urge you to require COVID-19 vaccines for college students. Many people are worried about possible long term side effects of the covid-19 vaccine, and we don’t know without a shadow of a doubt if or what those would be. However, we know exactly what happens when people contact the virus. People die. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are dead.”

But another student, Zoe Chamberlan, disagreed with the board’s approach.

“I do not agree with you trying to force me to get this vaccine and it is not fair that my education could be at forfeit and that I do not get to finish my degree next semester because I do not wish to put this in my body,” she said.

“I am grateful to the Board of Health for passing an emergency regulation today to require students attending in-person classes at Nevada System of Higher Education institutions to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations by November 1 in order to be able to enroll for the Spring 2022 semester,” Gov. Sisolak said on Friday. “I also want to thank the Medical Advisory Team for providing this policy recommendation upon my request and for the staff at DPBH for developing the proposal heard at the meeting.”

The regulations do not change existing exemptions for religious beliefs or medical conditions.

“The emergency regulations regarding COVID-19 vaccines for higher education students in Nevada will be effective for 120 days and will have to go through a more rigorous public process to be made permanent, if health and higher education officials deem it necessary,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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