LSU System’s new president urges students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible
Vaccination will be required as part of enrollment process once it’s approved by the FDA, he says
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — LSU students should get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible, the school system’s new president advises.
“The position we have at LSU is that once it’s FDA-approved, we’re going to ask that all of our students take the vaccination as part of a process of enrollment,” William “Bill” Tate IV said during a media briefing Thursday, Aug. 19 at LSU Health Shreveport.
“You all know that vaccinations have long, long been a part of the process of enrolling in higher education, so adding another one to the schedule if it is going to keep the students safe, keep the staff and faculty safe is the thing to do.”
Students and employees are being asked to voluntarily report their vaccination status to LSU through the school system’s verification portal. The LSU COVID-19 reporting dashboard showed Thursday that 12,967 students and 4,631 employees had been vaccinated as of Wednesday, Aug. 18. The school’s enrollment in fall 2020 was 34,290.
The numbers are not comprehensive of the entire student body for the fall semester since arrival on campus is staggered, the dashboard’s webpage states.
Tate told the media Thursday that with 50% reporting, he recalled the vaccination rate at the Baton Rouge campus as being 85%. The rate among its sororities and fraternities was 90% with half reporting. And the vaccination rate among students in residential settings stood at about 76%.
“We have more work to do,” the LSU System president said. “We released some information today encouraging students to get vaccinated, especially since we are going to mandate it.
“The thing that I want to highlight is that now with the booster being recommended, we really think students need to move expeditiously to get that vaccination so we don’t have a convergence of people who are elderly and others who had early vaccination coming in for boosters.”
The trend nationally is that more and more people are getting vaccinated, Tate said. “And, unfortunately, the reason it is going up is because people are observing the impact of not receiving the vaccination.
“The vaccination certainly has tremendous efficacy. I think students are beginning to make sense of that in light of the stories that they are seeing demonstrating that most of the folks who are needing significant care don’t have a vaccination. That is an empirical finding validated in clinical trials, and now people are seeing it in the news media. So we need to encourage as many people as we can to take the vaccination.”
Tate opened his remarks Thursday by expressing excitement about his second visit to LSU Health Shreveport. “As an epidemiologist, I’m always excited to be around places that are into saving lives. And prevention is extremely important to me as well.”
The LSU System’s new president also outlined his three-pronged Scholarship First vision:
- “The first one is that we want to have robust research and discovery process. Medical education and all the related fields rely upon research and discovery. And I think that this particular campus is on a very positive trajectory on that front,” Tate said. “We want to accelerate it and continue to go forward.
- “Secondly, with respect to Scholarship First, the teaching and learning environment is critical. And in context of a medical school, clinical education is a foundational part of the teaching and learning process. Here we have very strong basic science and clinical processes. I am excited to see them and observe firsthand.
- “Finally, Scholarship First means providing excellent financial resources for students who might want to be a part of the health and medical fields. So we need to make sure we are providing resources so they can participate in our great discovery processes and allied health fields.”
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