Students attending a University of California and California State University campus in the fall will likely be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before accessing campus facilities, the two university systems announced last week.
In a joint announcement, the UC and CSU systems said Thursday that they intend to require all students as well as faculty and staff members to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The requirement is expected to take effect for the fall 2021 term or when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives its full approval of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The FDA has approved three vaccines for emergency use but has yet to grant full approval for any of them.
"Together, the CSU and UC enroll and employ more than one 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 Castro said.
Both university systems are planning for most of their classes and activities to be in person this fall after college campuses across the state were shuttered for most of 2020 due to the pandemic.
The CSU and UC systems currently require vaccinations for multiple illnesses, including measles, chickenpox, tetanus and meningococcal disease, before students can attend classes or live and work on campus.
Both university systems already strongly encourage students and staff to get the coronavirus vaccine and plan to work with student advocacy groups like the UC Student Association and the Cal State Student Association as well as labor unions representing staff and faculty members.
"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 Dr. Michael Drake said.
UC Student Association President Aidan Arasasingham said he expects his organization to support the requirement as long as the UC system maintains a clear timeline, equitable access and a transparent waiver process for people who cannot get the vaccine due to a medical condition or religious exemption.
"I think the vaccine requirement is a welcome announcement to students," Arasasingham said. "It's something that I think better guarantees us the kind of fall experiences that many students are longing for and the reopening of campuses that we've been looking forward to."