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Cornell University vaccine requirement exempts minority groups due to 'injustices & current events'

The university allows student exemptions for medical and religious reasons as well as people of color who are concerned about fulfilling the requirements.

Updated: December 9, 2020 - 2:46pm

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Ivy League college Cornell University implemented a flu vaccination requirement for all students during the fall 2020 semester, but allowed for minority student exemptions based on "historical injustices and current events."

Through a Behavioral Compact, the collection of schools known as the Ivy League, required students attending the Cornell to receive a flu shot as a public health strategy in response to Covid. Exemptions applied only for medical or religious reasons, along with concerns from black, indigenous or other people of color.

"Students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a Person of Color (BIPOC) may have personal concerns about fulfilling the Compact requirements based on historical injustices and current events," the Cornell Heath website states. "We recognize that, due to longstanding systemic racism and health inequities in this country, individuals from some marginalized communities may have concerns about needing to agree to such requirements."

Students at the school, in Ithaca, New York, can apply for an exemption to required vaccines. However, the BIPOC exemption to the flu vaccine does not explain a requirement that must be met in order for the exemption to be approved. 

Cornell explained why some groups may feel skeptical agreeing to the flu shot requirement.

"Historically, the bodies the of black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) have been mistreated, and used by people in power, sometimes for profit or medical gain," school officials said.

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