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UW to require COVID-19 vaccination for fall quarter

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UW starting second coronavirus vaccine trial to protect against variants

Nurse Alina Bell-Games gives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to William Casimir, a patient room service cook, at the UW Medical Center on Jan. 12, 2021.

The UW will require students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by fall quarter, university President Ana Mari Cauce announced Monday.

Students returning to campus in the fall will need to verify they have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, unless “they are claiming a medical, religious or philosophical exemption.”

“Widespread vaccination is the only real way we can put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and return to a more normal way of living, learning and working,” Cauce said in the Monday afternoon announcement.

University officials had previously said they would announce a decision on a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students by June 1. This move came on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases.

When students return to campus, the university will provide access to vaccinations to students who are unable to get vaccinated because of eligibility requirements or limited access wherever they are living currently. The UW will accept any vaccine authorized by the United States, the World Health Organization, or other countries. 

Cauce notes this requirement applies to students only; faculty and staff are not currently required to be vaccinated before the fall. A decision on staff vaccination requirements will come later.

Several other state university systems, including those of California and Massachusetts, have already announced vaccines will be required. Washington State University also announced last week it would require immunization. Cauce said at a student senate meeting last week that the UW’s decision was pending an update on vaccine supply and rollout. 

The UW already requires proof of immunization against other diseases, like measles and mumps. 

The university is currently in the process of organizing pop-up vaccination clinics on campus for students, faculty, and staff. 

Cauce also announced earlier Monday she would be hosting a virtual town hall May 12 alongside other university leaders to “discuss the safe return to in-person learning this fall.”

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

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