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COVID-19 vaccine requirement for faculty, staff and trainees

Dear Washington University faculty, staff and trainees,

After a long 16 months of disruption and difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are finally seeing some significant signs of hope for a return to many of our regular activities. This is in large part due to the availability of authorized COVID-19 vaccines, which have greatly improved the trajectory of the pandemic. Studies have shown that all of the vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States have an excellent safety profile and markedly reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, including severe illness, which is reduced by 90 percent or more in people who are fully vaccinated. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued updated guidance for institutions of higher education, which indicate that fully vaccinated campuses can return to full-capacity, in-person learning with limited restrictions. With the aim of protecting our community and the patients we serve, and returning to full in-person teaching, learning, research and campus life in the fall, we will require all Washington University faculty, staff and trainees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Exemptions may be granted for medical contraindications and for sincerely held religious beliefs. Exemption requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

We made the decision to require the vaccine after careful consideration of guidance from federal and regional health agencies and our own infectious disease experts at the School of Medicine. We had previously informed students that they would need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning for the fall semester, and we believe that a fully vaccinated campus will allow us to bring back the bulk of our workforce and lift many of the public health restrictions that have been in place for over a year. This is good news for all of us, as individuals and collectively, as members of the university community. 

All faculty, staff and trainees must provide proof of full vaccination by August 30 (see COVID-19 vaccine FAQ page for definition and timelines). Only COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization will be accepted. Vaccination will be offered free of charge by the university to all faculty, staff, trainees and students. Faculty, staff and trainees wishing to make a vaccination appointment may do so by sending an email to covidvaccine@wustl.edu. Employees may receive a vaccine on regular work time and supervisors must allow time for employees to be vaccinated.

To provide your documentation, log in to the Occupational Health Electronic Medical Record system, ReadySet, and upload a picture or scan of your COVID-19 proof of vaccination. You can do this by clicking on “My Health” and then uploading the image in the “Documents” tab. Faculty, staff and trainees who received the COVID-19 vaccine through the university (not including the BJC community clinics) do not need to upload documentation. Additional information is available on the COVID-19 vaccine FAQ page

Other than the limited exceptions noted above, faculty, staff and trainees who do not provide proof of full vaccination by August 30, 2021 will be prohibited from accessing university facilities and will be subject to other measures, including termination of employment. The full policy on COVID-19 vaccination, including information about how to request an exemption, is available on the Human Resources website. 

We are grateful for your many contributions to our successful navigation of this crisis over the past 16 months. Throughout this time, our highest priorities have been to protect the health of our community and ultimately to bring our most valued resources – our people – back together. We believe having a fully vaccinated campus will enable us to achieve both. We thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Andrew D. Martin, PhD
Chancellor

Beverly Wendland, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

David H. Perlmutter, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Dean, School of Medicine

Legail Chandler
Vice Chancellor for Human Resources