UC Office of the President releases draft of vaccine policy for fall 2021

photo of the outside of the Tang Center
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To protect the UC system's health and safety, the UC Office of the President proposed a policy that recommends that UC students, staff and faculty receive the COVID-19 vaccine for fall 2021. Through the policy, those with religious or medical reasons will not be required to receive the vaccine and will be monitored through other methods.

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On April 22, the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, made public a proposed policy that strongly recommends that all UC students, faculty, academic appointees and staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine for fall 2021.

The proposed policy’s objective is to protect the health and safety of the UC system, according to the policy draft. U.S. vaccines are currently under Emergency Use Authorization and do not have full Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, approval, according to Ryan King, UCOP associate director of media relations. 

“The vaccine requirement would only go into effect once a vaccine has full FDA approval,” King said in an email. “UC expects that a final policy will be ready for the start of the fall 2021 term contingent upon that approval from the FDA.”

Those who have medical or religious exceptions will be exempt from receiving the vaccine and will instead have to be monitored through various means. This includes extra testing, staying home when someone in their household is sick and avoiding large gatherings, according to the policy draft.

Students, whether they have an exemption or receive the vaccine, will have to update their immunization records before arriving on campus, the press release stated.

Any UC personnel, student or faculty member who chooses not to comply with the policies will be barred from using UC facilities and programs in person, according to the policy draft.

“With an increasing number of people expected to return to UC locations, vaccination is essential for the safety and well-being of the community,” the press release reads.

The UC system encourages those coming back to campus to seek vaccinations in their local area because vaccine availability near any of the UC campuses may be low, according to the policy draft.

Students who do not have access to a vaccine in their local area or country will be allowed on campus and referred to a vaccination site, and they will be subject to extra safety measures until they are fully vaccinated, according to the policy draft.

The UC system will also accept internationally-approved vaccines if they are authorized by the World Health Organization, or WHO, according to the policy draft. Additionally, the draft noted that the WHO’s website has a document listing the status of international vaccines.

In addition to vaccination, the UC is encouraging all students and employees to continue to physically distance, wash their hands and wear masks, according to the policy draft.

“Vaccination remains the most effective way to bring this pandemic to an end and to prevent a resurgence of the pandemic in local and campus communities,” the policy draft reads. “At this time, the COVID-19 vaccination requirement would be a permanent update to the University’s policies and would take effect beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year,”

Shylie Ati is an academics and administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @shylieati.