ASU, UArizona, NAU announce COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees

Oct 15, 2021, 11:25 AM | Updated: Oct 19, 2021, 1:05 pm
(Facebook Photo/The University of Arizona)...
(Facebook Photo/The University of Arizona)
(Facebook Photo/The University of Arizona)

PHOENIX – Arizona’s three public universities announced Friday they will be requiring most employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8.

Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University each said the mandate was to comply with vaccine regulations governing federal contractors.

The policies include exemptions on medical or religious grounds as allowed under federal law.

“ASU receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding through grants and contracts every year,” ASU spokesman Jay Thorne told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email. “Continued receipt of these funds is essential to ASU’s mission as a comprehensive public research university as well as to the Arizona economy.”

UArizona and NAU made similar statements regarding federal funds in letters notifying employees of the policy change.

“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,” UArizona President Robert Robbins wrote.

“While we respect individual opinions regarding the vaccine, we will continue with these mission-critical endeavors and will be complying with this new requirement.”

In addition to the letter, UArizona posted an FAQ web page with details about the policy.

NAU’s letter said the Flagstaff school is still working out its details.

“To continue critical research, employment and educational efforts provided under federal contracts with NAU, we must comply with requirements from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force,” NAU’s letter said.

When Gov. Doug Ducey was asked for a reaction, spokesman C.J. Karamargin issued the following statement:

Governor Ducey has been clear from the very beginning: the COVID-19 vaccine is proven to be effective and safe. He’s been vaccinated and he encourages all Arizonans to get the vaccine. The Governor also has said he is opposed to mandates and that getting the vaccine should be a matter of personal choice. His views have not changed.

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ASU, UArizona, NAU announce COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees