The University of California finalizes plan to require vaccines regardless of full FDA approval
The state’s other university system, California State University, still plans to wait for full FDA approval
Michael Burke and commentaries by Robert Gorter, MD, PhD.
July 16th, 2021
In fall 2020, 26% of incoming freshmen at UC Berkeley were from outside of California. That’s tied with UC San Diego for the highest share of out-of-state students at any UC campus. (Alison Yin — EdSource)
Students, faculty, and staff across the University of California this fall will be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to access campuses, the system’s president said Thursday.
The requirement marks a reversal from April when UC was planning to require the vaccines only if one of the existing vaccines received full approval from the U.S, Food and Drug Administration, which has not yet occurred.
UC announced in June that it planned to require the vaccines without FDA approval but did not explain why it was reversing its earlier policy.
In a letter announcing the final policy change to the chancellors of UC’s 10 campuses, UC’s system-wide president, Michael Drake, said the final policy is the result of “consultation with UC infectious disease experts and ongoing review of evidence from medical studies concerning the dangerousness of COVID-19 and emerging variants of concern.”
Under UC’s policy, students and staff must show proof of vaccination two weeks before the start of the fall term, or earlier. For UC Berkeley and UC Merced, the fall semester begins in August. The other seven UC undergraduate campuses are on the quarter system and begin their fall terms in September.
For staff who work at UC locations that don’t follow an academic calendar, such as the system’s president’s office, proof of vaccination will be required by September 1st, 2021. The policy allows for religious, medical, and disability exceptions.
The vaccines will be required for students, faculty, and staff who want to access both campus facilities and off-site UC programs, such as study abroad and athletics programs.