Can UC and the State of CA require vaccination against COVID-19?
Yes. When a vaccine is proven to be both safe and effective at reducing the severity and spread of a deadly disease like COVID-19, both UC and the State of California can legally require that employees be vaccinated in order to maintain the health and well-being of the UC community and the public. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued an order applying to all CA health care facilities on August 5, 2021, and UC issued its policy applying to all UC facilities on July 15, 2021.
Don’t I have the right to make medical decisions that affect my body?
Yes, you will ultimately choose whether or not you get vaccinated. However, as a worker in a health-care facility or on a campus, you also have a responsibility to protect patients, students, and your co-workers from preventable harm. Should you choose not to be vaccinated (or do not have an approved exemption), you may be disqualifying yourself from UC employment by choosing to expose patients, students, and/or co-workers to preventable harm.
Are there any exceptions to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement?
Yes, employees may request an exemption based on a medical reason, disability, or religious belief, and follow additional protocols, including testing 1-2 times per week.
What is the deadline to be vaccinated?
A CDPH order requires that workers in health-care facilities be fully vaccinated (or have an approved exemption)
by September 30, 2021. UC’s vaccination policy requires compliance at least two weeks before faculty, staff, and students are expected to be on campus for the 2021 fall term.
Can UC put me on unpaid leave or terminate me if I am not vaccinated (and do not have an approved exemption)? Yes (as long as they are following their policy and State orders, and administer the requirement and exemptions in a non-discriminatory manner).
Can I qualify for unemployment if I am terminated for not getting vaccinated?
Employees are not guaranteed to qualify for unemployment if they are terminated for refusing COVID-19 vaccination (or terminated for failing to receive an approved exemption).
What has AFSCME 3299 done about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement?
While AFSCME strongly encourages vaccination to protect our members, patients, students, staff, and communities from preventable harm, we have also insisted on our legal right to bargain over vaccination mandates. Furthermore, we are actively monitoring UC’s implementation of its policy, the State order, and employees’ requests for exemption to make sure policies are being administered in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.
Are COVID vaccines really safe and effective?
Rigorous studies have proven COVID-19 vaccines to be safe and effective. Vaccination prevents serious illness or death. In addition, vaccination dramatically reduces the chances that you spread the disease to others. Over
3 billion people have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. And more than 80% of all UC employees have already been vaccinated.