UW announces COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all employees

Michelle Ma

The University of Washington on Thursday announced it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by autumn quarter. The UW recently announced that all students must also be vaccinated before fall classes begin.

This requirement follows the release of new workplace masking and distancing requirements from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries. Vaccinations are provided free of charge to individuals at UW Medicine — including at the UW Medical Center – Montlake on the Seattle campus — as well as at clinics, pharmacies and many other locations in Seattle and in Pierce and Snohomish counties.

“The FDA-authorized vaccines — which are based on technology that’s been under development for more than two decades — are safe and effective. 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,” wrote UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark Richards in a message to the University community.

Faculty and staff will need to confirm they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 by autumn quarter in order to work on the UW’s campuses or within its facilities. Similar to the student requirement, employees will be allowed to seek exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

This decision follows consultations with faculty and staff leadership, as well as the state, and work is underway on how this requirement will be implemented. More details will be shared in early summer on how employees can confirm they have been vaccinated or apply for an exemption. These will include how this requirement will interact with the existing UW Medicine employee vaccine survey, as well as its application to faculty affiliates or staff who do not come to UW campuses or facilities and those employees who work out of state.

The Department of Labor & Industries’ new guidance addresses vaccine verification and health and safety requirements for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. Additional guidance is expected before the state’s planned lifting of most health restrictions on June 30.

President Cauce and Provost Mark Richard’s complete message to campus can be found at uw.edu/coronavirus.

For more information, contact Michelle Ma at [email protected]


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