University of California COVID-19 vaccine mandate update

Guy Nicolette, assistant vice chancellor for University Health Services; Eugene Whitlock, chief people and culture officer and Ben Hermalin, vice provost for the faculty sent the following message to the campus community on Thursday:

We write with an update on the vaccine policy. Following a 30-day public comment period, President Drake has confirmed that the University of California will move forward with a vaccine mandate.

Here’s what we know:

  • The policy will be finalized and issued by July 15, 2021.
  • The effective date for policy compliance will be Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, two weeks before the UC Berkeley fall term begins.
  • The policy will allow for narrow medical exemptions consistent with CDC guidance and manufacturer labeling on contraindications and precautions. As with other policies and, in accordance with relevant federal and California law, faculty, staff and students will also be eligible to request disability accommodations and exceptions based on religious belief. Additional information will be outlined broadly in the general implementation guidance and in detail in location-specific guidance by mid-July.
  • Those with approved exemptions or accommodations may return to campus with the requirement that they remain masked in all public settings and comply with the campus testing plan, which at a minimum will be weekly. Employees who choose not to be vaccinated, and have no approved exemption, cannot work on campus.

If you received the vaccine at an off-campus vaccination site, you will need to upload a record of your vaccination to the secure eTang portal as soon as you have received your last dose and have a complete vaccination card. This will help us better understand vaccination levels within the campus community and will be required once the policy goes into effect. If you were vaccinated on campus, no further action is required.

We’re sharing this information now so that you have time to get vaccinated if you haven’t done so already. In the United States, everyone 12 years of age or older is eligible for the vaccine free of charge. The vaccines are extremely safe and highly effective — we strongly recommend that everyone gets vaccinated.

We recognize that, if you are outside the United States, you may not have access to vaccines. The policy will make allowances for this situation and allow students to attend classes while in the process of getting vaccinated, after an appropriate quarantine period.

Cases of COVID-19 have been on a steady decline over the last few months and vaccination is the primary driver of this trend. Being vaccinated is simply the best protection against COVID-19. A high vaccination rate in our population also helps protect those in our community who cannot be vaccinated. We urge you to get vaccinated now if you are medically able to.