Flint, MI—Following a broader policy shift from the University of Michigan, students, staff and faculty at UM-Flint are no longer required to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, though exceptions may apply.

On Monday, Jan. 20, 2023, UM-Flint officials announced that COVID immunizations are no longer required for all campus members, but the requirement could still extend to certain faculty, staff and students, such as those in a health care setting. 

“We’re strongly recommending, strongly encouraging, the vaccination for everyone, but there are some units, some academic programs that will continue to require it,” said Michael Lane, the director of environmental health and safety & emergency preparedness at UM-Flint. 

The change is part of a larger pivot in the University of Michigan’s COVID vaccination requirement, which remains in place for some other members of the university, such as UM-Ann Arbor students living in the university’s housing. 

“We felt like we have a pretty good coverage of vaccine and we felt like this time it made good sense to follow the overall change across the entire institution and then look at how that would impact our campus,” Lane said. 

In a message to the community, University of Michigan President Santa J. Ono and Chief Health Officer Robert D. Ernst wrote that the university’s policy changes bring it in line with the expected end to the federal government’s COVID emergency declarations.

President Joe Biden’s administration plans to end those declarations on May 11. 

“They reflect the reality of a new phase of the pandemic with more consistent and manageable COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our region,” Ono and Ernst wrote of the university’s COVID vaccination policy changes. 

In Genesee County, Lane noted, cases of severe COVID cases and hospitalizations have decreased over time. When it comes to weekly cases, the county recorded 50 cases per 100,000 people from Feb. 2 to Feb. 8, down from a peak level in May of last year when case rates reached about 264 weekly cases per 100,000 people. 

But, Lane said, “It doesn’t mean there aren’t people still having significant outcomes. That’s why we still prompt and encourage and recommend individuals getting the vaccine.” 

He added that UM-Flint continues to offer walk-in COVID clinics in partnership with the Genesee County Health Department.

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...

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