BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — The University of Massachusetts will require all students, faculty, and staff across the five-campus system to receive a COVID vaccine booster.

The school system reports that nearly 100% of students, faculty, and staff were vaccinated after a mandate this past fall requiring vaccinations in order to return to campus. Employees who have been granted a religious or medical exemption from the vaccination requirement are exempt from the booster requirement.

“Vaccination is the best defense against COVID,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “The data are clear that vaccination protects us against severe illness and death. I urge everyone to get vaccinated and, as soon as they are eligible, get a booster.”

Meehan has informed the 320 employees of the Office of the President that they, too are required to get a booster shot. UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, and the UMass Chan Medical School have made similar announcements. UMass Boston and UMass Lowell have notified students of the requirement and are in discussions with employee unions regarding the implementation of the requirement.