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Amherst Board of Health approves student vaccine mandate

September 10, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — The Amherst Board of Health has approved a request by the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District to enforce a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for students.

The mandate adds the coronavirus vaccine to the list of students’ required immunizations, according to superintendent Michael Morris.

The school committee is scheduled to decide when the students must get the shot.

“The Board of Health adds vaccination against COVID-19, using vaccines that have received full FDA approval, to the list of vaccinations that are required (except for medical or religious exceptions) for students to attend public schools in Amherst,” Morris said in a tweet Friday.

A vaccine mandate for staff personnel is also under consideration, according to The Boston Globe.

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The Amherst Board of Health only applied the mandate to vaccines fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Pfizer’s vaccine, jointly developed with Germany’s BioNTech, has received full FDA approval for those ages 16 and older.

Around 1,400 students attend grades seven through 12 in the district, Morris said.

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FOOTBALL TAILGATE CANCELLED

Football fans planning to attend Saturday’s match between Boston College and UMass-Amherst will have to forgo the traditional tailgate celebration.

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst has decided to cancel its first tailgate of the 2021 football season, citing an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, according to The Boston Globe.

“It is with risk in mind that the decision has been made,” the university’s Public Health Promotion Center said in statement.

There is still significant risk of transmission, even outdoors, if social distancing is not possible, and the cancelation would “minimize the density of students gathering prior to kickoff,” the statement added.

Parking lot access will be limited to those with valid game-day parking passes. The university said an increase in positive cases at the school has been connected to indoor social activities, including “visits to crowded downtown bars and attendance at parties.”

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VIRUS CASES

State health officials reported 18 deaths and more than 1,700 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

The state Department of Public Health also reported more than 600 patients were hospitalized with the virus.

Massachusetts is averaging more than 1,600 new coronavirus cases daily, up from more than 1,400 a day two weeks ago.

The state remains one of the most vaccinated in the nation, with about two-thirds of residents fully inoculated against COVID-19.