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UW to require COVID-19 vaccination for faculty and staff

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UW Medicine talks steps forward with vaccine roll-out

Dozens showed up for one of the UW's pop-up vaccination clinics last month.

The UW will require staff and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they will work on campus in fall quarter, the university announced Thursday.

This decision falls in line with a mandate announced last month that students would have to be vaccinated for in-person learning come fall quarter, which starts Sept. 29.

Employees will be allowed to seek exemptions for medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions. 

The UW will accept any vaccine authorized by the United States, the World Health Organization, or other countries to meet this requirement. The university will provide access to the vaccine to students and employees who are unable to get vaccinated due to eligibility requirements or availability in other countries. 

The university plans to provide more information regarding how exactly it plans to verify vaccination status early this summer. 

There were questions following the earlier move about why faculty and staff weren’t included in that requirement, but UW spokesperson Victor Balta told The Daily at the time that “as a state employer, faculty and staff decisions such as these require some additional consultation with our leadership and the state.”

The move follows state guidance and a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases. 

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has issued new guidance on verifying workers’ vaccination status. Acceptable documentation includes either the original CDC vaccination card or a photo of it, or documentation from a health care provider. 

The UW has hosted several pop-up vaccination clinics in recent weeks in an attempt to conveniently immunize community members. One was held in Alder Hall and another in Madrona Hall offered students a free burger from Dick’s Drive-In if they got vaccinated. 

UW Medical Center also accepts walk-ins at its Montlake campus from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

“Widespread vaccination is our ticket to a return to in-person learning and working as we create the ‘new normal’ for our University, and we encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as you’re able,” university President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark Richards said in the Thursday campus-wide announcement. 

Reach News Editors Jake Goldstein-Street and Ash Shah at Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet @itsashshah

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