Return to on-site work

COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment

Last updated October 21, 2021

On August 18, 2021, Governor Inslee issued proclamation 21-14.2, requiring all employees of Washington higher education institutions to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment unless:

  • a documented medical or religious exemption is approved; or
  • an individual provides documentary proof that they are unable to get fully vaccinated due to the requirements of their participation in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial; or
  • an individual resides in countries other than the United States of America and is unable to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with reasonable effort and expense.

The proclamation applies to all UW employees whether on-site or remote, however the information on this page applies to staff, academic student employees and student employees only. The Office of Academic Personnel provides information about how the proclamation applies to faculty and academic personnel.

Employees may meet this requirement by providing proof of having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with any of the three COVID-19 vaccines (manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson). Employees may also meet the requirement if they are participating in an approved clinical trial, or have been fully vaccinated with a WHO emergency use listed (EUL) or prequalified vaccine. Please contact EH&S at emphlth@uw.edu or 206-616-3344 regarding the requirement or Employee Health at the medical centers for more information.

Employees are considered fully vaccinated if they are at least two weeks past their final dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine regimen.

Employees should pay attention to dose timelines to ensure they are able to receive the last dose of the selected vaccine regimen at least two weeks prior to the deadline.

Exemptions

The Governor’s proclamation allows for reasonable accommodation for medical or religious reasons as outlined below. A philosophical reason is not an acceptable exemption reason.

Medical accommodation: A request for an exemption from the vaccination requirement as an accommodation due to an underlying medical condition and/or disability that prevents the employee from receiving an authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Employees requesting a medical exemption from the vaccination requirement are required to have their healthcare provider complete a statement that includes the anticipated duration of the need for accommodation.

Religious accommodation: A request for an exemption from the vaccination requirement as an accommodation for an employee who has a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that prevents them from being vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees requesting a religious accommodation are required to provide the UW with a statement explaining how their religious observance, practice or belief necessitates the request for accommodation and prevents the employee from receiving an authorized COVID-19 vaccination.

The proclamation expressly prohibits providing accommodations that are known to be based on false, misleading, or dishonest grounds or information; and/or are based on the personal preference of the individual and not on an inability to get vaccinated because of a disability or a conflict with a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.

Process

New hires to University employment may meet this requirement by providing proof of vaccination on start date or requesting an exemption at time of offer. For more information about COVID-19 vaccine verification, please visit the Verification of COVID-19 vaccination for authorized Workday roles webpage for campus employees and medical centers employees will receive information about the vaccine verification process in the new hire confirmation letter.