The University of Maine System is no longer requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students and employees. Chancellor of the University of Maine System Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday, March 10 that they are encouraging students, faculty and staff to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, but as of May 2023 will not be mandating it.
“Students and employees have demonstrated a strong commitment to safety throughout the pandemic,” Malloy said in a statement sent out to the UMaine community. “Maine’s vaccination rates are also among the highest in the nation.”
The University of Maine System is now the second university system in Maine to no longer require COVID-19 vaccines, following Maine Community Colleges’ decision to lift their vaccine requirements at the beginning of February 2023. Maine Community College System (MCCS) President David Daigler attributed strong vaccination rates and improved outcomes for pandemic victims as key factors in this decision.
“It’s been three full years since the pandemic began, and the situation has changed since we initiated this vaccination protocol,” Daigler said. “It’s time to change our approach by ending the requirement and focusing on wellness education programs.”
Malloy said that factors including decreases in variants associated with the disease contributed to this decision at UMaine.
“These factors helped inform the University of Maine System’s decision to lift the COVID-19 vaccination requirement effective with the May term and going forward,” Malloy said.
At the time of the MCCS’s decision, Malloy was not prepared to change UMaine’s policy until the FDA and CDC changed their guidelines.
Penobscot County, Maine is still considered a high community level according to the CDC. The CDC is still recommending that Mainers stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including recommended booster doses.
Though the vaccine is no longer going to be required for University of Maine System students and employees, according to The Together for Maine website vaccines and boosters are strongly encouraged.
“I thank you for the role that each of you continues to play in our success and encourage you to stay up-to-date with your vaccinations,” Malloy said.