The University of Maine System plans to drop its COVID-19 vaccine mandate beginning in May.

System Chancellor Dannel Malloy announced the decision Friday.

Starting in the May 2023 term, the university’s campuses will no longer require vaccines but will continue to encourage community members to get a COVID vaccine and booster shots.

“They are still an important tool for mitigating the severity of the disease,” Malloy said in a statement to the UMaine community.

He said the system’s decision to remove its vaccine mandate comes as variants have decreased in severity and reflects the fact that many Mainers are vaccinated, and that students and employees have demonstrated a strong commitment to safety during the pandemic.

“Thanks to the hard work of successfully limiting our exposure to COVID-19 and decreasing its impact, we can unwind some of its restrictions allowing us to return to more normal activities,” Malloy said.

Malloy said the UMaine System remains committed to following science to guide its COVID-19 policies and protocols.

The UMaine System’s announcement comes around a month after the state’s community college system ended its requirement that on-campus students be vaccinated for COVID. The community college system, unlike the UMaine System, implemented its change to vaccine policy immediately.

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