Published: June 2, 2021

The University of Colorado Boulder is among the first campuses to sign up for the newly launched COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge, part of a national effort to boost vaccination rates.

The White House and U.S. Department of Education announced the challenge today as part of the national vaccination “month of action.” On May 4, President Biden announced a goal of administering at least one vaccine shot to at least 70% of adult Americans, and of 160 million Americans being fully vaccinated by July 4.

Richard Biggs, 20, an evolutionary biology major at CU Boulder, gets his first dose of the Moderna vaccine from Dr. Laird Wolfe. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Richard Biggs, 20, an evolutionary biology major at CU Boulder, gets his first dose of the Moderna vaccine from Dr. Laird Wolfe as part of a study to determine if the vaccine can prevent COVID-19 infection and transmission in the student population. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

While a significant portion of older generations have received the shot, younger Americans lag behind. Government health officials have urged young people to join their parents and grandparents and get vaccinated, which will keep them safe and protect their families and communities by reducing the risk of giving the virus to someone else. 

“We are thrilled to join in this important effort to keep us all safe and healthy,” Chancellor Philip DiStefano said. “Vaccination remains the most effective way to bring this pandemic to an end and prevent a resurgence in local and campus communities. The ability to provide high-quality education, research and creative experiences remains our top priority.”

To qualify as a Vaccine Champion College, institutions must commit to: 

  • Making sure every member of the campus community knows they are eligible for a vaccine and has resources to find one. 
  • Leading the way by identifying champions for vaccine efforts across campus and implementing a plan to get as many members of a college community vaccinated as possible.
  • Delivering vaccine access for all and tracking success.

The White House and U.S. Department of Education will celebrate Vaccine Champion Colleges throughout the summer in social media, events and remarks; and facilitate events for colleges to learn from each other—panels, communities of practice and more. 

During the spring semester, CU Boulder provided a series of on-campus vaccination clinics to help ensure vaccine access for students, faculty and staff. CU Boulder vaccinated more than 6,400 people during the spring semester. The university continues to provide outreach and resources for the campus community on vaccine safety, why vaccination is important, and where to get the vaccine. 

Like all CU system campuses, CU Boulder will require faculty, staff and students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15. The requirement will enable the campus to more fully return to a traditional campus experience for the fall 2021 semester, DiStefano said. 

CU Boulder will have a vaccine verification process to determine that the requirement has been met for all CU Boulder affiliates. There is also an option for students, faculty and staff to complete an exemption, if needed.