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UC encourages COVID-19 vaccinations for university communities while reviewing policy requirements

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UPDATE: July 1, 2021

The consultation period referenced in the announcement below (published on April 22, 2021), recently ended with strong support within the university community for moving forward with a vaccination requirement. As expected, this policy has evolved since the original proposal shared on April 22 designed to encourage and incorporate community input. 

Based on that feedback and additional medical studies on the efficacy of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the policy being finalized would be implemented immediately and allow for the use of vaccines currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under emergency use authorization (EUA). This furthers alignment with UC’s already vocal encouragement of students, faculty, academic appointees and staff to voluntarily obtain a vaccination as soon as they were eligible. In order to maximize the safety of all campuses and ensure sufficient lead time for compliance, UC intends to issue its final policy for systemwide implementation guidelines by mid-July.

The University of California today shared the details of a proposed policy on COVID-19 vaccination as part of its engagement with its community as it joins the California State University in supporting immunizations as part of an expected return of students, faculty, academic appointees and staff to in-person instruction across the state this fall.

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“Receiving a vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19 is a key step people can take to protect themselves, their friends and family, and our campus communities while helping bring the pandemic to an end,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. 

“Together, the CSU and UC enroll and employ more than one million students and employees across 33 major university campuses, so this is the most comprehensive and consequential university plan for COVID-19 vaccines in the country,” said CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro. “Consistent with previous CSU announcements related to the university’s response to the pandemic, we are sharing this information now to give students, their families and our employees ample time to make plans to be vaccinated prior to the start of the fall term.”

Given the importance of vaccination, UC is engaging its community in a discussion of the details of the proposed policy now so that students, faculty, academic appointees and staff will have ample time to obtain the vaccine ahead of the fall term.

Under the proposed policy, the University would require students, faculty, academic appointees and staff who are accessing campus facilities at any UC location beginning this fall to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. UC already strongly encourages students, faculty, academic appointees and staff to voluntarily obtain a vaccination as soon as they are eligible and able to schedule an appointment. The requirement would go into effect once a vaccine has full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Students planning to access UC campuses for the fall will need to update their immunization documentation on file to indicate vaccination or an approved exception or medical exemption prior to coming on campus. For those who are unable to receive a vaccine prior to campus arrival, student health centers may be able to help find a local resource for vaccination but special protections may be required. Faculty, academic appointees and staff will be advised on the process for providing vaccination information after a policy is finalized. 

With an increasing number of people expected to return to UC locations, vaccination is essential for the safety and well-being of the community. Additionally, physical distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand-washing and cleaning will continue to be crucial for daily campus life.

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