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University of Minnesota will mandate COVID vaccines for students, once it's FDA approved

Minnesota's largest university had been one of the prominent vaccine mandate holdouts.

The University of Minnesota has announced it will require students get the COVID-19 vaccine – once one has received full approval from the FDA.

Up until Monday, Minnesota's largest university had been one of the most prominent institutions nationally not to mandate COVID vaccines ahead of the new academic year, but has relented after coming under increasing pressure from hundreds of its own faculty members.

In an email to staff Monday, President Joan Gabel said that – provided it's approved by the Board of Regents – the university's 60,000 students across its five campuses will have to be vaccinated for COVID-19, with some exemptions in place.

It has said further details regarding the timing and grace period for getting the vaccine, as well as the consequences for not getting it, will follow.

The rule will go into effect once the FDA has given full approval to a COVID vaccine. It's expected to give this approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks.

Faculty members aren't required to be vaccinated, but those who are not must undergo regular testing.

"This will allow us the best chance to have normal campus activity this fall and uninterrupted in-person, on-campus instruction," said Gabel.

"We understand that this is a challenging decision for our community, but our interests are first and foremost the health of our students, staff, and faculty."

Prior to this announcement, the university had only been encouraging vaccinations, not requiring them, despite numerous prominent universities across the country – and multiple private colleges in Minnesota – imposing mandates.

Bring Me The News previously reported that the university felt it was on a shaky legal ground while vaccines had only been given emergency FDA approval.

But the spread of the more contagious delta variant, which has seen high numbers of cases reported particularly among younger, unvaccinated Americans, has led to a number of institutions and businesses requiring vaccines.

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