COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Faculty and Staff

May 14, 2021

Dear colleagues:

On April 19th, we wrote to advise you of the University’s decision to mandate vaccination for students for the fall 2021 term. We are now writing to let you know that President Bollinger and the Columbia University COVID-19 Task Force have decided to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all faculty and staff. Full vaccination is to be completed as soon as possible, but no later than September 1, 2021

Information about the vaccination requirement can be found at this site, which will be updated in coming days as details are announced, including instructions on where and how to upload evidence of vaccination.  The University will accept all vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. The University will provide a mechanism whereby individuals can request a religious or medical exemption, as needed.

We will address questions about the vaccination requirement at the next of our regular series of town halls on COVID-19, vaccination and related issues, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18.  For more information click here.

If you have not yet been vaccinated, you can find information about how to schedule a vaccine at  Lerner Hall by clicking here; for other Columbia locations, by clicking here .  We are providing vaccinations now and throughout the rest of the year.  In addition, there are hundreds of New York City locations and thousands across New York State and the metropolitan area. 

The rationale for expanding the vaccination mandate to include employees is to ensure that the health of Columbia affiliates and the broader University and surrounding community is preserved.  We are fortunate to now have several vaccines with excellent efficacy and safety profiles. These vaccines bring further welcome protection from COVID-19.  We anticipate that one or more of the three vaccines currently available under Emergency Use Authorization in the US will be given full approval by the FDA before the mandate’s effective date.

The vaccine mandate will be integrated into our Columbia Community Health Compact, an agreement all faculty, staff and students are required to sign in order to access campus facilities. It will be part of our COVID-19 prevention effort, which includes our testing program, use of face covering and physical distancing. We appreciate that over the coming weeks and months some of these measures may be adjusted based on vaccination status and guidance from the CDC and New York State.

Last fall, we asked you to “Keep the Compact,” and you did it. Despite tremendous hardship, Columbia has maintained its academic, research, service and clinical vitality throughout the current academic year. The availability of COVID-19 vaccines, combined with other preventive measures, will enable us to get much closer to our common goal: returning fully to in-person instruction this fall and restoring our vibrant campus life.

Sincerely,

Gerry Rosberg, Senior Executive Vice President  

Donna Lynne, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC, and University COVID Director