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Johns Hopkins Foreign Students Scramble After Vaccine Policy Change

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Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has announced it will only admit students for in-person classes who have received vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), causing consternation among international students who received WHO-approved shots not recognized by the FDA. They must now register for two additional shots of Pfizer or Moderna, or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Freshman Panwa Promtep from Thailand explained that she chose to be inoculated with WHO-approved AstraZeneca vaccine because it was included in the original list of COVID-19 shots accepted at JHU.

“If I was told beforehand that AstraZeneca wasn’t accepted, I wouldn’t have gotten the dose in the first place,” she told The News-Letter.

Another international student, Peter Huang, called on the institution to support students affected by the policy change because they risk potential side effects from additional vaccinations. He said, “the school should take responsibility if anything averse should happen to us.”

‘Based on Evidence’

Amid demand for support from students, JHU Director of Media Relations Jill Rosen explained that the move to change vaccine policy was “based on evidence” that some vaccines not authorized by the FDA could be less effective against the delta variant.

She also explained that school administrators are only following the advice of public health experts that “universal vaccinations” are the most effective way to keep everyone at the university safe.

“Double vaccination is not that much different than boosters or vaccination post–COVID, which is done frequently without adverse effects,” she told the independent student newspaper.

Rosen emphasized that JHU is striving to provide its students with easy access to vaccines. She also said the university is working with students who report having trouble getting vaccinated.

“We offered a series of vaccination clinics on campus at the beginning of the school year during which from Aug. 19 to Sept. 20 we administered 1,395 COVID-19 vaccines. Also, most local pharmacies provide the vaccines,” she remarked.

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