Will Houston area colleges and university require COVID-19 vaccine to enroll?

As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, some universities in the U.S. are looking into how their students can have access, and whether or not it'll be a requirement for enrollment.  

Here are the COVID-19 vaccine plans for the five major colleges and universities in Houston so far:

Rice University

Rice University hopes to offer all students, faculty, and staff a COVID-19 vaccine by August, and hopes have a "largely normal" fall semester, according to a note from President David Leebron.

No word yet if the university will require students to receive the vaccine to return to campus.

Houston Community College

Houston Community College tells FOX 26 it is still working on its policy on the COVID-19 vaccine.

University of Houston

Suzy Harrington, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs - Health & Well-Being, says the university began preparing in January to its community and received vaccines earlier this month. 

"We're full within hours. People are so excited," said Harrington. 

UH hosted a vaccination clinic after receiving the vaccines and more than 1,100 students, faculty, and staff.  On Wednesday and Thursday, they'll get the second dose.

"We are planning to do this every week for as long as we can get vaccines. Everybody is so excited," added Harrington. 

She adds the university does not plan to require the vaccine for enrollment.

"Not at this time. Everybody seems to want them, so it's not a thing that we need to require but just have them available," Harrington explained. 
UH signed on to Mayor Sylvester Turner's ‘Take Your Best Shot’ College Challenge, a friendly competition between the Coogs, the University of St. Thomas, and Texas Southern University. The effort is led by students. The goal is to register the most students and alumni for the vaccine by the end of next month.

Texas Southern University 

D’Angelo Colter is a junior at TSU and student body vice-president.  He believes TSU’s efforts to vaccinate students will secure them the bragging rights for the Mayor's challenge. 

"We are the heart and soul of Houston, so of course we have to take home a gold," he added. "It's going to be a win for us."

He explains the university is with one of the major health institutions at the Texas Medical Center vaccinating students and residents of the surrounding community.

Next week, he adds, a student led information campaign will launch. He says TSU does not plan to require the vaccination to enroll. 

University of St. Thomas

"Come on. Game on. Let's do it," said David Hao, Dean of Students, referring to Mayor's challenge.

He says they're working to host on-campus vaccination clinics over the summer, but for now, they are working with community partners to vaccinate students, staff, and faculty.

He adds the university does not plan to require students to get the vaccine to return to campus, but does plan to offer incentives.

"College students typically like the same thing," Hao noted. "They love swag. They love food. They love opportunities to be able to gather."