By Anna Dai-Liu, Daily Bruin
The UC announced May 16 that students and employees will soon be allowed to opt out of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate entirely.
The change came after the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced that the federal COVID-19 public health emergency would end May 11. Gov. Gavin Newsom ended California’s state of emergency Feb. 28.
Under the new policy, all employees and students who enter UC facilities or programs must either be fully vaccinated consistent with public health regulations or submit a statement saying they have decided to decline the vaccine.
Previous UC guidelines issued in December only permitted exemptions from the requirement for medical, disability-related or religious reasons. The policy also allowed those who complied with initial vaccine requirements – excluding healthcare workers – to opt out of boosters if they signed a similar statement and agreed to other measures, such as masking.
“The decision to update UC’s policy reflects the welcome fact that UC has entered a very different phase in our response, with more than 88 million COVID-19 vaccines having been administered in California,” according to a statement from the UC.
In the December policy, the University recommended that people be vaccinated in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health. As of May 23, the CDC recommends that all people ages six and over receive one dose of the updated bivalent vaccine in order to remain up to date on vaccinations.
“In the event applicable law or public health orders impose stricter vaccination requirements, such as for health care workers, the policy will continue to require compliance with those stricter requirements,” the statement said.
The policy will be circulated for review and is subject to change based on federal and state regulations. Members of the general public can submit questions or concerns to the UC Office of the President.