UH, KCC to mandate COVID-19 vaccine Fall 2021

LIHUE — The University of Hawai‘i System is adding the COVID-19 vaccination to its student health clearance requirements beginning in the upcoming fall semester.

The UH system is the first school in the state to announce such a rule on Monday. Kaua‘i Community College’s Chancellor supports UH’s president’s decision.

“I think it’s a very good move, it will allow us to return to more of our face-to-face teaching than we’ve probably experienced in the last 14 months,” KCC Chancellor Joseph Daisy said. “And then I think in a couple of other areas, they are still either informal discussion with our unions, particularly around employee vaccinations. And then obviously, there are questions around what would be our position or our process for visitors.”

Daisy said students who do want to return to campus face-to-face will have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated before classes begin. And students who don’t want to be vaccinated can still enroll and take classes online.

“We’re very flexible to ensure that our students could continue their course of study,” Daisy said. “We were also able to keep our offices for service to students open and staffed through the worst of the pandemic. And the staff made sure that they would respond to student requests, whether it was via email, or whether it was, face-to-face or whether it was by phone.”

Daisy said he thinks the KCC ‘ohana has done a great job caring, working and supporting one another.

“I think we’re all looking forward to the positive impact that being vaccinated will have on our community and our campus,” Daisy said. “Just so happy that we’re at this point with as much progress as we have made and continuing to move in the right direction.”

To be on any UH campus, students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Monday’s announcement.

As with existing health clearance requirements, students will be able to request exemptions for medical and religious reasons. More detailed information will be made available in the coming months as implementation plans are finalized.

“It is clear that a vaccinated campus is a safer campus for everyone, and a fully vaccinated student community enables the best opportunity for a healthy return to high-quality face-to-face teaching, learning and research,” said UH President David Lassner. “This decision does not come lightly, and is based on guidance from our own Health and Well-Being Working Group as well as the American College Health Association’s recommendation that all on-campus college students be required to be vaccinated.”

The vaccine requirement will take effect only after at least one of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently under emergency use authorization has been approved and fully licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is anticipated this summer.

UH health clearance requirements for students currently include a tuberculosis clearance and immunizations for Measles Mumps, Rubella, and Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis and Varicella. Meningococcal Conjugate vaccinations are also required for first-year students living in on-campus housing.

All UH students and employees can sign up now to be vaccinated, and UH urges all members of the UH community to be vaccinated now. The university will also ensure there are vaccination opportunities over the summer and at the beginning of fall for members of the UH community who arrive from other locations where they may not have been able to be vaccinated.

In a press conference, held on Monday, Lassner said right now there are 361 universities in the U.S. with a vaccination requirement for students that’s across the country. That’s a mix of public and private institutions.

“Less than half of those also have vaccination requirements for employees,” Lassner said. “But many do and most notably, the University of California system and the Cal State University system announced that their vaccination requirements would apply to both students and employees.”

Hawai‘i Department of Health Director Libby Char says UH’s decision to add the COVID-19 vaccine is an important development for the university and the state.

“We are hopeful that with the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and this vaccination requirement in place for students, that by fall we will be able to return to mask-free classrooms without physical distancing requirements,” said Char.

The university will also be initiating formal discussions with the three unions that represent UH employees about possibly requiring COVID-19 vaccination.


Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

  1. KauaiFarmMan May 18, 2021 8:23 am Reply

    What an absolute violation of our rights! This vaccine is only approved for experimental use.
    To all the vaccine lovers hear this. Last week when the Senate grilled the leaders of the CDC, NIH, and FDA to ask them what percentage of their employees received the vaccine, they all reluctantly responded less then half. These are the top doctors and scientists in America. The same doctors responsible for telling you to get your vaccine. But as it turns out these people who have had access since day one refuse to take this poison shot. They say it’s safe for pregnant women yet there was no pregnant women in the test trials. Now they are giving it to children, You fools don’t realize that if your not obese, over 70 and have pre existing conditions you will almost definitely survive covid. So why chance a vaccine that we have no idea of the long term side effects. What they don’t tell you is that this type of gene therapy vaccine has only been tested on animals prior to covid . And you guessed it , all animal test subjects that received the gene therapy died within months.

  2. RG DeSoto May 18, 2021 8:24 am Reply

    Post WW2, they executed Nazi doctors and others….why? For forced “medication” of Jews held in their concentration camps. ( https://famous-trials.com/nuremberg/1903-doctortrial )
    Now here we are in a supposedly free country…forcing young people to be medicated whether they want to or not. The cruel irony is that young people are the very least affected by SARS CoV-2…they are virtually immune to the virus and easily recover if even symptomatic.
    This program of forcing a vaccine on students is a shameful display of tyranny and should be abandoned immediately. Hopefully, someone will pursue this insanity in the courts.
    RG DeSoto

    1. Kali Yuga May 18, 2021 10:37 am Reply

      Thank you RG, I always look forward to reading your comments here. I feel less lonely on Kaua’i knowing at least a few others are out there who see through the illusion.

    2. Dan May 18, 2021 11:41 am Reply

      Nobody is “forcing” anyone to do anything. You can’t attend KCC if you’re not vaccinated. That’s it. Simple. This isn’t Nazi Germany. Nobody’s rights are being violated. If you don’t want the vaccine don’t get it. Easy.

      1. RG DeSoto May 18, 2021 3:02 pm Reply

        So, Danny boy…You think it is fine to dictate to a student: no experimental vaccine, no taxpayer funded education that is supposedly available for free to all? Sorry your point is simply irrational…worthy of someone with a mid-level double digit IQ.
        Moreover, I did not say this Nazi Germany. What I said is that after WW2 Nazi doctors were executed for violently subjecting Jews to forced medical procedures and “medications”. My point was & still is, why is this dictatorial vaccine mandate by a taxpayer funded education system anything less ? It is forcing young people to accept an experimental drug in order to further their education…period.
        Their right to make their own medical decisions is certainly being violated by a bunch of bureaucrats who understand nothing, are historically ignorant, and morally bankrupt.
        RG DeSoto

      2. RGLadder37 May 18, 2021 5:30 pm Reply

        They are being political. Nobody may have the virus going to college. Rights are violated. They’re pressured into the giving of a vaccine. They should rethink this.

  3. Bill of Rights May 18, 2021 10:45 am Reply

    This is a violation of a person’s civil rights.

    Let the lawsuits begin.

    Sue the $h!@“ out of KCC and UH for a mandate that is a human rights violation.

  4. Jerry May 18, 2021 8:40 pm Reply

    None of the people opposed to the vaccine have much interest in formal education, so this policy will work out fine.

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