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UW System says vaccines aren’t required, but there is an incentive

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Whether to get a COVID shot or not-- UW Systems announced it will leave it up to students to decide.

“We’re doing everything we can, but we’re not going to mandate it,” President Tommy Thompson told reporters Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of students that for religious reasons, political reasons, or whatever reasons, don’t want to do it,” Thompson said. “I don’t want to force them. I’m encouraging them. I’m encouraging everybody.”

He also said immunized students will be able to skip routine testing if they show their vaccine cards to university health officials.

Currently, students living in dorms have to get tested every three days.

“I don’t like getting tested twice a week,” sophomore Lauren Rault said, adding she’s hesitant about taking the tests out of her routine. “I think they should maybe move it down once a week.”

The UW now stands opposed to a growing list of universities, as names like Rutgers and Notre Dame came out with their own vaccine mandates.

Thompson said he has a plan to encourage COVID shots, including the use of social media, to get 75 percent of a campus immunized. With this number, Thompson said he believes herd immunity is possible.

“This is a little bit more of a liberal campus,” freshman Braeden Remy said. “So hopefully they decided to get vaccinated.”

According to a UW-Madison online dashboard updated Wednesday, more than 15 thousand students and staff have gotten a dose or more of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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