UC Proposes COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

UC President Michael V. Drake, in lab coat, administers a vaccination.
UC President Michael V. Drake, a physician, administers a COVID-19 vaccination at a community pop-up immunization hub in San Francisco’s Mission District, in April 2021.

The UC Office of the President would like to see “COVID-19 vaccinations” on the to-do lists of everyone in the university community as we prepare for the return to in-person instruction and other campus activities.


For now, the vaccinations are highly recommended. But, under a proposed policy issued Thursday (April 22) and which the university hopes to implement for the fall term, all personnel, trainees and students accessing university facilities and programs in person would be required to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The proposal allows for limited exceptions and exemptions.

“Receiving a vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19 is a key step people can take to protect themselves, their friends and family, and our campus communities while helping bring the pandemic to an end,” UC President Michael V. Drake, a physician, said in a news release. (He is pictured at the top of this page, giving a vaccination recently in San Francisco’s Mission District.)

Enforcement of the mandate would be delayed until at least one vaccine has full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (vaccines being administered now in the United States have only emergency-use authorization) and is widely available.

UC attributed its early release of the policy proposal to the importance of being vaccinated against COVID-19 — so that people can plan now to get their shots. See UC DavisCampus Ready Vaccine Program webpage for information on how to make appointments. Officials also are engaging with the university community on the details of the policy. Comments are welcome by email.

University of California Health announced Monday (April 26) that it had administered 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, marking a significant milestone in the fight against a pandemic that has killed more than 60,000 people in California. Read the news release.

‘Vaccination is essential’

The new release stated: “With an increasing number of people expected to return to UC locations, vaccination is essential for the safety and well-being of the community. Additionally, physical distancing, mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing and cleaning will continue to be crucial for daily campus life.”

Students planning to access UC campuses in the fall will need to update their immunization documentation on file to indicate vaccination or an approved exception or medical exemption prior to coming on campus.

For those who are unable to receive a vaccine prior to campus arrival, student health centers may be able to help find a local resource for vaccination but special protections may be required.

Faculty, academic appointees and staff will be advised on the process for providing vaccination information after the policy is finalized. At UC Davis, vaccination information is being accepted now, on a voluntary basis, through the Health-e-Messaging portal — and more than 6,500 people had done so as of last week.

UC made its announcement in conjunction with the California State University system, which issued a similar proposal.

“Together, the CSU and UC enroll and employ more than 1 million students and employees across 33 major university campuses, so this is the most comprehensive and consequential university plan for COVID-19 vaccines in the country,” CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556, dateline@ucdavis.edu; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932, kitaura@ucdavis.edu.

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