Find answers to your questions in this webinar video and FAQs about UC's COVID-19 vaccine mandate and implications for UC Davis students and employees at any university facility
The University of California COVID-19 Vaccine Policy requires all employees and students to be fully vaccinated, or hold an approved exception, by Sept. 8, 2021. Check the vaccination rates for UC Davis.
- The importance of getting vaccinated
- How to navigate the medical and religious exception request process
- What happens if your exception request is approved or not approved
- Special considerations for staff, academics and students, including guidance for international students
- Mary Croughan, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
- Eric Kvigne, Associate Vice Chancellor for Safety Services
- Dr. Cindy Schorzman, Medical Director for Student Health and Counseling Services
- Pablo Reguerín, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
- Margaret Trout, Executive Director for Student Health and Counseling Services
- Julia Johnson, Human Resources Employee and Labor Relations Manager for Davis Campus
- Danielle Kehler, Human Resources Employee and Labor Relations Manager for UC Davis Health
- Binnie Singh, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
- Download webinar slides as a PDF
- Get vaccinated: More about getting vaccinated and reporting your vaccine info
- Request an exception: Step-by-step instructions for requesting an exception
We have compiled answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccine mandate, including questions specific to remote workers, understanding the policy, the exception process, what managers and supervisors need to know, information for faculty and academics, questions specific to students and to international students and scholars.
Compliance details and timeline for UC Vaccine Policy
- Which vaccines are approved to meet the UC requirement?
- Any of the vaccines that have been authorized by the World Health Organization can be entered into your Health-e-Messaging records to meet the university’s vaccine mandate requirements. The university will accept any FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine as fulfilling the mandate. Current WHO-authorized vaccines include: Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac. Novavax clinical trial participants who participated long enough in the trial to receive a CDC vaccine card will also be able to present that card as proof of initial compliance with the policy, though boosters may later be required.
- I am partially vaccinated and waiting to get the second shot in the series, what can I do to avoid disciplinary action?
- If you have received one shot in a series and are scheduled to get the second shot after Sept. 8, then you must enter the date of your first shot into Health-e-Messaging as soon as you receive it. If it is a two-shot series, campus will be tracking the due date of your second shot and your record will be flagged for follow-up. Should there be any delay, you will be marked as noncompliant and enter the disciplinary process.
- Will there be additional time granted to get the vaccine for those who have their exception request denied?
- Yes, consideration will be given to individuals making an immediate effort to be in compliance with policy. After your first dose, your medical record will be flagged as conditionally compliant with a projected end date based on your vaccine shot schedule. The process for notifying our system of record is still being finalized.
- Who has access to my medical records?
- Private medical records are stored in the university’s HIPAA-compliant system and only accessed by authorized individuals.
Remote workers and the UC Vaccine Policy
- I work remotely, why do I need to get vaccinated?
- For the safety and well-being of the entire community, vaccination is our most effective tool for controlling this pandemic. It is very rare that an employee NEVER comes to a worksite. Even occasional access to a university worksite requires that you be compliant, which includes maintaining adherence to the campus asymptomatic testing program. In so doing, we increase the chances of identifying an infection while it is still off-campus and thus prevent the potential of spreading it to others when coming onto campus.
- I work 100% remote, does this policy apply to me?
- If an employee is truly never required to physically access a university facility or program, they will be considered not subject to policy. Understand that even an occasional meeting or training on-site means the employee must be fully compliant with policy (be vaccinated or have an approved exception). If you believe this applies to you, then contact your department’s HR professional to initiate a process to provide documentation to update your record.
Understanding the UC Vaccine Policy
- Why did UC choose to implement the vaccine policy without final FDA approval?
- As expected, this policy has evolved since the original proposal. Based on consultation with experts and additional medical studies on the efficacy of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the final policy allows for the use of vaccines currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under emergency use authorization (EUA) or authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Why do I need to get vaccinated if I’ve already had COVID-19?
- Experts recommend getting the vaccine even if you’ve had COVID-19. There isn’t enough information to say whether you have natural immunity from being sick or how long it may last, according to the CDC. Experts recommend waiting at least until you've recovered from acute illness and no longer have to be isolated (typically 2 weeks).
- If the vaccine causes serious adverse effects, will the university be responsible?
- There is risk assumed by taking the vaccine just as there is risk assumed by not taking the vaccine. UC has mandated the vaccine under policy based on significant and measurable benefit to our community. However, ultimately the decision is yours to make and accordingly not the responsibility of the university. Vaccine information sheets are linked to the policy and contain an explanation of benefits/risks. If an employee needs time to recover from symptoms associated with a reaction from the vaccine, they are encouraged to speak with their supervisor to arrange leave time to do so.
Requesting an exception
Find more information, including flowcharts and step-by-step instructions, on the Exceptions webpage.
- Why is the university using a third party for employee exception requests?
- Sedgwick is a trusted business partner of the University of California and has been for decades. They’ve built a process that follows UC protocol and guidance while removing significant administrative burden from the campus. Sedgwick will never issue a denial on their own. Final decision authority rests with the campus.
- Can I appeal the process if my request is not approved?
- No, there is no appeals process. A request for an exception will go through multiple rounds of review before a final denial is issued. If a denial decision is reached, then you will need to get vaccinated.
- What is the basis for receiving a religious exception?
- Applications for a religious exception must be fully completed before they will be considered. As defined by policy, the basis for acceptance is grounded in a person’s sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance.
- I would like to request both exceptions. How can I do that?
- You may follow each specific process to initiate separate requests.
- I'm only on campus once a week, do I have to get tested every four days?
- Yes, your frequency to campus does not affect the testing requirements of the policy. Our testing practice maximizes our chances of discovering an infection before it has a chance to spread on campus. If you are unvaccinated, then you will need to test every four days (in addition to holding an approved exception) in order to avoid the consequences of non-compliance. If you get tested at an off-campus location, you will need to upload proof of your tests to the “Medical Clearances” section of the Health-e-Messaging portal.
Information for managers and supervisors
- What is the supervisors' role in supporting compliance with policy?
- Supervisors are needed to support compliance with policy and provide resources for your employees. For example, any individuals with an approved exception or deferral will be required to test every four days and wear face coverings. In instances when face covering requirements are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, supervisors should ask to see approved status to verify if an employee is required to wear a face covering. In addition, supervisors may be notified if an employee is out of compliance with testing requirements.
- Am I allowed to ask my students or staff if they are fully vaccinated?
- If there is a business reason to do so (for example having a different requirement for face coverings) we can ask for vaccine verification to ensure compliance. In addition, our asymptomatic testing program frequency has different requirements based on vaccination status. We will continue to rely on the Daily Symptom Survey through the summer to monitor compliance with policy. In the fall, our compliance process will rely on the vaccination and testing data held in the Health-e-Messaging systems..
- What about unvaccinated new employees who start after Sept. 8?
- New employees will be granted an 8-week grace period to get fully vaccinated. During that time, individuals must follow required nonpharmaceutical interventions, which currently includes testing every four days and wearing face coverings as required.
- Will unvaccinated employees be required to get their twice weekly testing inside or outside of working hours?
- Employees can get tested during work hours, as you will be afforded paid release time for testing. Please consult with your supervisor for scheduling.
Information for faculty and academic personnel
- What is the department chair’s role in supporting compliance with policy?
- The department chair should remind all employees, staff and academics, about the policy requirements. If they become aware of non-compliance, they should report the matter to Academic Affairs to begin escalation processes.
- Which policies are relied upon for the escalation process involving policy-covered academics?
- For Faculty, the policy on conduct is outlined in APM 015 (The Faculty Code of Conduct). For discipline, Senate Faculty are covered by APM 016 (University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline.) Corrective action for other academic appointees is covered in APM 150.
- What can I do if a student refuses to wear a face covering in my class or lab?
- The instructor’s response should be similar in circumstance and consistent in manner to handling other disruptive behaviors during a class. Specific steps for escalation are recommended as follows:
> Remind the entire class that there is a uniform masking requirement for the duration of class.
> Offer and have available a mask for someone who forgot to bring one.
> If a student(s) does not comply, ask those that are non-compliant to step into the hall. Begin with explaining responsibility to maintain the safety of the classroom/lab and compliance with policy.
1. Ask for a reason for non-compliance. If there is some kind of access issue or medical reason preventing a student from wearing a mask, refer that student to the student disability office for the accommodation process.
2. Otherwise, the student can choose to re-enter the classroom/lab and wear a face covering or otherwise leave.
3. If the student chooses neither option and intends to re-enter class, the student will be referred to OSSJA with the potential for serious sanctions for obstruction/disruption of teaching. Class should be cancelled for the day if the student chooses this route.
- Can students eat or drink in classrooms if face coverings are required?
- Students may remove their mask briefly during a class to take a drink. They may not eat in a classroom.
Information for students
Find more detailed information on the Information for Students and Families page.
What if I do not have any access to a vaccine or I need to start over with a new series of a WHO-authorized vaccine?
If a student is not able to access a WHO-authorized vaccine until they arrive at Davis, the expectation is that they will receive at least their first vaccine shot on or before the first day of classes for fall quarter in order to access campus facilities and attend classes. In addition, such students must complete their vaccination series by October 20 (four weeks from the first day of classes) or else the compliance disciplinary process will be initiated. While they are completing their vaccination series, students will also be required to follow campus guidance for unvaccinated students (including sequestration, testing every four days and wearing face coverings) until two weeks after their vaccination series is complete.
- Is there a way to move in early to the residence halls so I can finish my self-sequestration and attend Orientation events in person?
- Move-in will take place on Sept. 13-16 for residence halls. There are no earlier dates to select to help comply with the 7-day sequester. Getting fully vaccinated is the best way to ensure you can attend in-person Orientation in its entirety.
- I'm nervous about getting matched with a roommate who isn't vaccinated. Can I refuse to live with someone who is unvaccinated?
- We do not collect medical information, such as vaccination status, for the room assignment process. As a public health measure, students who have an approved vaccination exception will be required to test every four days and wear face coverings indoors (except in their room assignment) and outdoors in crowded spaces.
Information for international students and scholars
Find more detailed information specifically for international students from the Services for International Students and Scholars.
- If I received AstraZeneca for my first dose, can I get my second dose in the United States with Pfizer or Moderna?
- No, CDC recommends restarting your vaccination series when you arrive in the United States with an FDA-authorized vaccine if you are unable to receive a second dose of AstraZeneca before arriving.
- Do international scholars need to follow the same sequestration requirements as other students?
- Yes. You must follow the self-sequestration guidelines for students.