Novel coronavirus information

May 3, 2021

Protecting our community’s health by requiring students to be vaccinated (University-wide message)

This message is being sent to all students, faculty, academic personnel and staff at the University of Washington.

Dear Students and Colleagues,

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. Fortunately, vaccines are now readily available that have proven safe and highly effective, including through clinical trials in which our own faculty collaborated and during real-world experience.

In order to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, academic personnel, staff and broader community, the University of Washington will require all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Before the start of autumn quarter, students will need to verify they have been vaccinated unless they are claiming a medical, religious or philosophical exemption. This is similar to our existing tri-campus immunization requirement. If students are unable to verify they are vaccinated because they can’t get vaccinated where they currently live, the University will provide access to vaccinations upon arrival on campus. Early this summer, we will share how students can verify their COVID-19 vaccination or claim an exemption.

Wherever they are living, students should get vaccinated as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the United States, by the World Health Organization or by other nations will meet this requirement.

This requirement applies to students. Decisions about vaccine requirements for faculty, academic personnel and staff will be made after further consultation with faculty, academic personnel and staff leadership, and the state.

The novel coronavirus has shown how easily it can spread — and more contagious variants are circulating, which may be causing more serious disease, including among younger people. UW research has also shown the virus can cause long-lasting health effects even in people who only had mild cases.

FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are based on technology that has been under development for more than 20 years and is being used now to stop this deadly virus. But a vaccine can do no good if it stays in a vial — it takes each of us to make the decision that I and hundreds of millions more have made to get vaccinated.

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.


Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology