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Rep. Tenney wants to end SUNY’s vaccine mandate at schools across New York

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U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney has introduced a bill in Congress that targets the COVID-19 vaccine mandates for college and university students. The bill is called the Ending COVID Vaccine Mandates for Colleges and Universities Act and is cosponsored by Republican U.S. Reps. Doug LaMalfa and Doug Lamborn.

According to the legislation, colleges and universities that impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates would risk losing federal higher education funding. The bill comes after the Cayuga County Legislature passed a resolution asking the State University of New York (SUNY) to end its vaccine mandate for students.

SUNY currently requires students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, although boosters are not mandated. Some lawmakers believe the vaccine mandate is contributing to declining enrollment at Cayuga Community College, which has campuses in Auburn and Fulton in Oswego County.

Tenney, who represents Cayuga County in Congress, stated that the decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should be between a student and their doctor, not their school. She also believes that now that President Biden has said the pandemic is over, colleges and universities should lift the mandates, as other institutions have done.

While various businesses and organizations have implemented vaccine mandates, many have lifted the requirements as the pandemic continues. There was a vaccine mandate for U.S. military personnel, but it was lifted as part of the annual defense policy bill signed into law in 2022.