Staff and students at the University of California must be fully inoculated in order to return to campus this fall, the university system recently announced.
The move differs from the institution’s position in April, when it said it would only require vaccinations if one of the vaccines received full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, given that they are currently under emergency use authorization.
“The University of California policy requires COVID-19 vaccinations for all individuals learning, working and living at UC locations this fall, and participating in-person in UC programs that may occur off-site (such as UC athletics programs or study abroad), with limited exceptions, accommodations and deferrals,” Heather Harper, a spokesperson for the UC system, said in a statement to The Epoch Times.
Issuing the new policy on July 15 was intentional in order to give students and faculty ample time to become inoculated prior to the fall semester, the statement said.
“The UC policy reflects our proactive response to the seriousness of a disease that has killed more than 600,000 people in the United States alone as well as to the rise of variants that are more easily transmitted and make widespread vaccination more important than ever.”
The policy incorporates input from UC infectious disease experts who have reviewed evidence from the medical studies on the vaccines, and found it to be “safe and effective for preventing infection, hospitalizations, and deaths, and for reducing the spread of this deadly disease,” the statement said.
Vaccination against COVID-19 will be a critical step toward protecting the 10-school UC community, which encompasses more than 280,000 students and 227,000 faculty members throughout the state, it said.
Through a consultation process, the UC community has shown “strong support” in requiring vaccines in order to return to campuses, the university system said.
“Based on that feedback and additional medical studies on the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, the policy allows for the use of vaccines currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under emergency use authorization to satisfy the vaccination requirement,” the statement said. “This furthers aligns with UC’s already strong encouragement of students, faculty, academic appointees and staff to voluntarily obtain a vaccination as soon as they were eligible.”
There are some exceptions and deferrals, which can be based on medical exemption, disability, or religious objection to the vaccine. An expectant woman may also receive a deferral for the duration of her pregnancy.
The new UC policy has yet to affect other school systems, with the California State University system (CSU) still sticking with its April announcement that it won’t require COVID-19 vaccinations until full FDA approval is granted.