Should A COVID Vaccine Be Part Of The Back-To-School Routine For College, University Students And Staff?

You can't step foot on campus without the COVID-19 vaccination. That's the message today from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Will we see the same thing at schools across Illinois? CBS 2's Tara Molina reports.

Video Transcript

BRAD EDWARDS: We can't step foot on campus without the COVID-19 vaccination. That's the message today from a Big Ten school, Rutgers University in New Jersey. Will we see that same rule come here? Our Tara Molina is asking. She's live on DePaul's campus. Tara, you checked with schools across the State on this.

TARA MOLINA: Brad, we did, and we're getting some mixed responses right now. Here at DePaul, we've learned that they're still considering all of this, but they are strongly recommending their staff and students get the vaccine. And as schools consider their options here, we got in touch with a doctor who says vaccine requirements could become the norm really soon.

Should this become part of the back-to-school routine, with colleges, universities, and health departments across the country asking that question right now, Dr. Mark Loafman, head of family and community medicine for Cook County, has a clear answer, yes.

MARK LOAFMAN: But in general, we do require people coming to public schools or even private schools to be vaccinated against risky conditions. So this is really no different.

TARA MOLINA: Referring to the long history of required vaccinations for schools, he told me--

MARK LOAFMAN: In some ways, it would be irresponsible of schools to not pull COVID vaccination into the same category that they do meningitis of pertussis and measles, for example.

TARA MOLINA: A spokesperson for the Illinois Institute of Technology told us they have no comment on this yet. At Northwestern, they still haven't decided on required vaccinations, but a spokesperson says they're asking students and staff to share whether they've received a vaccine. As for the University of Illinois, a spokesperson told me they follow the Illinois Department of Public Health's guidance, and right now they aren't requiring proof of COVID-19 immunization.

With any vaccine, Dr. Loafman says there are medical and religious exemptions to requirements. His word to those concerned about the possibility of this one--

MARK LOAFMAN: So we need to help people reframe their thinking about it from some bizarre conspiracy that it's going to harm people to say this is part of the very foundation of public health safety that has allowed us to have a society we have today.

TARA MOLINA: Now, we're still waiting on the State's health department to address our requests on this story today. But again, we reached out to schools across the State in reporting this, and all of their responses to this question-- we know you want these answers today-- are in this story on our website right now. Reporting live on DePaul's campus. I'm Tara Molina. CBS 2 News.

BRAD EDWARDS: Tara, thank. CBS 2 is tracking where and when people across Illinois are getting their shots. For up-to-date information on the roll out near you, including interactive maps, go to CBSChicage.com/vaccinetracker.