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Arizona Universities Mandate Vaccines for Employees

October 19, 2021

Arizona’s public universities will require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to comply with a Biden administration order requiring federal contractors to mandate vaccinations, The Arizona Republic reported.

The decision by the institutions follows a similar move by Pennsylvania State University, which announced last week it would require employees -- including student employees -- to get vaccinated in order to comply with requirements for federal contractors.

University of Arizona president Robert C. Robbins said that all university employees, including student workers and graduate assistants and associates, must submit documentation of full vaccination by Dec. 8 or obtain an exemption for religious or disability-related reasons.

“The University has hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts, funding critical research, employment, and educational efforts, and already has received amended federal contracts that include this requirement,” Robbins wrote in a statement. “While we respect individual opinions regarding the vaccine, we will continue with these mission-critical endeavors and will be complying with this new requirement.”

A spokeswoman for Arizona governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, told The Arizona Republic the governor opposes the employee vaccine mandate and is reviewing the universities’ decisions to see what his options might be. Ducey issued an executive order in June prohibiting public universities from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students.

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