LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A petition is circulating online to put a stop to the Siena College’s booster shot requirement for the Spring semester.
Siena students created the petition “Sign To Have Siena College Change the Booster Requirement to Optional” through the website Change.org on Sunday, January 9. As of 5:30 on January 12, there were nearly 1,500 electronic signatures. One of those signatures is from Siena senior Alex Feuz.
“It’s not saying we don’t want the booster shot, it’s saying make it optional if they want it or not, not have it mandated,” Feuz said.
On January 5, Siena College President Chris Gibson sent out an email to students informing them of the additional requirements to return to campus on January 24.
According to the Siena website, “all students who are currently eligible for the booster must receive it before returning to campus for the Spring 2022 semester” and “are required to receive a PCR (not rapid antigen) COVID test 5-7 days before returning to campus.”
Feuz said he’s not against the vaccine, just the college mandating the booster. He said college students not being a vulnerable population was reason enough not to require the additional shot. He also pointed to the CDC’s definition of “fully vaccinated”—”an individual that has their primary series of the COVID.”
“Between previously having COVID, which I’ve had, along with a fully dosed vaccine, by definition, I’m fully vaccinated,” Feuz said.
The CDC now uses the term “up to date” and urges anyone over the age of 18 to get a booster because their studies report to additional shot decreases mortality due to COVID by 90% compared to being fully vaccinated.
Fuez said for him, the petition is about drawing the line before the college requires more.
“Will there be mandates when there’s another booster shot in another 6 months? That’s where people are questioning, what’s the end game here?” Feuz said.
In a statement to News10 ABC, Siena said their end game is all about balancing their top priorities of safety, mental health, and the academic and extracurricular student experience.
“The vaccine has been transformational in our ability to deliver on these priorities. This past fall, a vaccine requirement helped to facilitate a successful term with in-person classes and activities marked by an exceptionally low number of positive cases,” a Siena representative said in the statement.
“We were able to accomplish our goals without requiring masks. In fact, once vaccinated, students enjoyed campus life with virtually no COVID restrictions. Given the arrival of the omicron variant, along with medical evidence demonstrating that the efficacy of COVID vaccines wanes over time, we updated our approach to require a vaccine booster for students as they become eligible so that they can once again enjoy the full Siena experience.”