UW announces COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students

May 3, 2021

The University of Washington on Monday announced it will require all students on all three of its campuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of the autumn quarter. The announcement comes with six weeks remaining in the spring quarter to provide time for students who are in the area to get vaccinated before summer.

Vaccinations are provided free of charge to individuals at UW Medicine hospitals — including at the UW Medical Center – Montlake on the Seattle campus — as well as at mass vaccination sites in Seattle and in Pierce and Snohomish counties.

“Widespread vaccination is the only real way we can put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and return to a more normal way of living, learning and working,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce wrote in a message to the University community. “Our community is one that cares — about each other and about the state and society we serve. For your health, and for the health of us all, please get vaccinated as soon as you can.”

The UW is encouraging students to get vaccinated as soon as possible, wherever they are living. COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the United States, by the World Health Organization or by other nations will meet this requirement.

Vaccines that have been proven safe and highly effective — including through clinical trials in which the UW’s own faculty were involved — are now readily available. Students will need to verify they have been vaccinated before the start of the fall quarter unless they are claiming a medical, religious or philosophical exemption, which is similar to the UW’s existing tri-campus immunization requirement. If students aren’t able to get vaccinated where they currently live, the University will provide vaccinations to students once they arrive on campus. Details about the verification process and ways to claim an exemption will be provided early this summer.

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Decisions about vaccine requirements for faculty and staff are still being reviewed in consultation with faculty and staff leadership and with the state.

President Cauce’s complete message to campus can be found at uw.edu/coronavirus.

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CONTACT: Victor Balta at balta@uw.edu.

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