BATON ROUGE, La. — Students at Louisiana State University will have until Sept. 10 to prove that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or be prepared to be tested "on a regular basis" for the virus.
LSU, which has more than 30,000 students, announced on Monday that it will require students on its campus to be vaccinated now that the FDA has given full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
On Tuesday, LSU President William F. Tate IV said that state law allows students to opt out for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons. Those students who opt-out will be required to be tested for COVID-19 "on a regular basis," although the university did not specify how often that means.
Students will have until Oct. 15 to submit full proof of vaccination.
LSU also announced on Tuesday that all fans aged 12 and older will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test to enter Tiger Stadium.
"As an epidemiologist, I know that vaccination is the way out of this pandemic, and I’m grateful to everyone who has already been vaccinated for helping us move in that direction," Tate said. "Those who have not yet been vaccinated can do so at one of several locations on campus. We have striven to balance the LSU experience with the necessary steps we must take to protect our community in our fall COVID-19 mitigation protocols."
The announcement that Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine received full federal approval triggers new vaccine and testing mandates in Louisiana. Louisiana's university will soon start requiring tens of thousands of students to get the shots.
Gov. John Bel Edwards intends to mandate regular COVID-19 testing for thousands of state workers who are immunized. But just how many people the vaccine and testing mandates will cover and when they’ll take effect remains uncertain.
University inoculation requirements may not be enforced for months on campuses, and students will be able to seek exemptions. Meanwhile, the Edwards administration said it’s crafting its testing plans, uncertain when they’ll be released.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.