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Each of Iowa's three public universities are planning to have full-time, in-person classes in the fall.

But when students and faculty return to the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University, and University of Iowa campuses for the 2021-22 academic year, will they have to be protected against COVID-19? The answer is no, but they are strongly being encouraged to get a vaccine.

Iowa Board of Regents President Michael Richards noted his support for the COVID-19 vaccine during Wednesday's virtual meeting, but he stated that the vaccine will not be required at Iowa’s public institutions.

"There has been discussion about mandating vaccines," Richard said. "I want to make it clear that while we will continue to strongly encourage members of our campus community to get vaccinated, the Regent Universities will not be mandating vaccinations for any student or employee for the 2021-22 academic year."

A growing number of colleges and universities across the country are requiring students to get the vaccine, or they won't be allowed to return to campus in the fall. Brown University (Rhode Island), Cornell University (New York), Duke University (North Carolina), Rutgers University (New Jersey), Syracuse University (New York), and the University of Notre Dame (Indiana) are among the institutions that have decided to mandate the inoculations.

"We believe in vaccinations, and will continue to make them available and encourage people to get vaccinated," Richards said, "but they will not be required at our three universities."

Nearly 500 University of Northern Iowa students were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson shot Tuesday, but the on-campus clinic was canceled after the Iowa Department of Public Health advised all providers across the state to pause administration of the one-dose vaccine. The Centers For Disease Control and Federal Drug Administration recommended the pause following reports of blood clots within two weeks of receiving the vaccine in the United States.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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