Attorney General Jason Miyares issued his first opinion today stating Virginia’s public universities “cannot require the COVID-19 vaccine as a general condition of students’ enrollment or in-person attendance.”
“Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Assembly has amended other statutes to address pandemic-related issues,” Miyares said. “To date, the General Assembly has not amended the specific immunizations enumerated in (state code) to include immunization for COVID-19, and boards of visitors may not exercise and implied power to require ja certain vaccine when a specific statute governing vaccination excludes it.”
Former Attorney General Mark Herring had said the General Assembly granted broad discretion to state colleges to set their policies, including vaccinations. Miyares disagrees.
“Although the General Assembly specifically authorized public institutions of higher education to assist the Department of Health and local health departments in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, the legislation did not grant such institutions power to impose vaccine requirements,” Miyares said.
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