NYU now requires all "community members" by January 18, 2022. This means that anyone who previously qualified as "fully vaccinated" will now be considered not vaccinated enough. It is unclear if natural immunity qualifies for an exemption.
The reason for the new rules is the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, which is reportedly less dangerous than any of its preceding Greek letter-named cousins. The school issued its new mandate on Tuesday.
"Amid the continuing transmission of the Delta variant, expansion of the Omicron variant, rising case counts in New York and on our campus, and public health guidance strongly encouraging all eligible Americans to receive a booster, NYU will require that all members of the NYU community (excluding those with approved exemptions) who are eligible must receive a COVID-19 booster vaccination by January 18, 2022 and upload proof of the vaccination," they said in a statement.
They offer locations at which to obtain the booster shot, and spell out the terms under which a person is eligible, which "includes all those 16 years old or older for whom 1) six months have passed since receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; 2) six months have passed since receiving their final dose of any WHO-listed vaccine; or 3) two months have passed since receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine."
After the booster shots became a reality, speculation grew that the definition of "fully vaccinated" would undergo a substantial change, moving the goal posts from two shots required to three.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's COVID adviser, said in September that this would in fact be the likely next step. "It is likely," he said, "for a real complete regimen, that you would need at least a third dose."
"I think we should be preventing people from getting sick from COVID even if they don't wind up in the hospital," Fauci said.
In New York, where NYU is located, Mayor Bill de Blasio instituted an executive order requiring people to show proof of vaccination in order to enter public spaces such as restaurants, gyms, theaters, arenas and other spaces. The understanding has been that a vaccine card need show either two doses of a two dose vaccine, or one dose of the J&J one-shot vaccine.
Is it not yet known if the outgoing mayor will will require New Yorkers, who have high rates of vaccination, to undergo a third round of shots in order to continue moving freely about the city.