Novel coronavirus information

October 31, 2022

UW COVID-19 vaccination requirement to continue (Message to the UW community)

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

Dear UW community,

On behalf of the UW’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, I’m writing to update you on the continuation of the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement after the Governor’s emergency proclamation ends Oct. 31. This message also includes steps you can take to protect against respiratory illnesses this winter, including by getting an updated COVID-19 booster and a flu shot.

Vaccination requirement to continue

Vaccinations remain the best way to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19, which is why the UW implemented its vaccination requirement in mid-2021, prior to Gov. Inslee extending the state’s mandate to universities later that year.

Consistent with Washington state agencies’ policies, the UW will continue to require personnel and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, specifically with the primary vaccine series, which is commonly a two-dose series. The policy on religious and medical exemptions will also continue. And while booster shots are not required, they are strongly recommended.

There will be a few changes following the expiration of the Governor’s Emergency Order on Oct. 31. For example, vaccinations will be strongly recommended but not required for volunteers and contractors.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, clinical personnel at UW Medicine and other UW clinical entities should continue to follow local policies as directed, as should health sciences students who are required to participate in the Health Sciences Immunization Program.

We regularly evaluate the UW’s vaccination requirement and will update the University community in the future if the personnel and/or student requirement is changed in light of changing public health conditions.

Preparing for winter

Winter is traditionally a time when respiratory diseases like colds, flu, RSV and now COVID-19 spread. The University will continue to provide vaccines, testing and masks — of which the UW has distributed more than 800,000 over the course of the pandemic — as well as maintaining good indoor ventilation. Meanwhile, I encourage every member of our community to take the following steps to protect against respiratory illnesses.

Thank you for the care and compassion you continue to show yourselves and our community, and best wishes for a successful remainder of the quarter.

Geoffrey S. Gottlieb, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair, University Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (ACCD)
Medical Director, Environmental Health & Safety Department
Professor, School of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases