Florida’s university leaders offered advice Tuesday to students planning to return to campus this fall: Show up vaccinated.
In a letter signed by all 12 university presidents, the State University System urged students to arrive vaccinated. Doing so, the letter says, will protect students and prevent disruptions.
“To help us provide high-quality classes, student services, extracurricular activities, and athletic programs in a healthy environment, we strongly recommend that all students get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus before arriving on campus,” the letter states. “Since the onset of the pandemic, our successes are a result of our campus communities accepting a shared responsibility for their health and well-being and practicing recommended precautions.”
The message comes as campus operations prepare to revamp amid a summer surge of COVID-19 cases. It also comes as the nation wrestles with a far more contagious variant of the virus — the delta variant.
The variant is taking root mostly in unvaccinated corners of America. With a recent daily average of roughly 10,452 cases, Florida is third for the most cases behind Louisiana and Arkansas, according to The New York Times.
The chances of a fully vaccinated person getting seriously ill or dying is “effectively zero,” DeSantis said.
Moreover, nearly 95% of those admitted to hospitals with the disease aren’t fully vaccinated, he added.
“These vaccines are saving lives,” DeSantis, who is vaccinated, continued. “They are reducing mortality.”
According to data released from the Florida Department of Health, 59% of the state’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
While those 65 and older are 84% vaccinated, only 38% of Floridians age 20-29 are vaccinated. Those ages 30 to 39, meanwhile, are 46% vaccinated.
DeSantis on Monday shut out media from a COVID-19 countable held at the state Capitol.
A copy of the letter is featured below.