Auburn University, Alabama will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19
Auburn University and the University of Alabama system will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8 to comply with an executive order mandating vaccines for federal contractors.
Employees with approved medical, religious or disability exemptions are excluded from the mandate. The schools notified employees Friday of the requirement.
"Because this vaccination requirement is mandated by the federal government, our institutions do not have flexibility in its application or enforcement," Lynn Lowe Cole, director of UA system communications, said in an emailed statement. "Failure to comply will place our universities in jeopardy of losing hundreds of millions of dollars received through federal contracts and awards, as well as thousands of jobs funded by those dollars. This outcome would severely impact our institutions’ teaching, research and service capabilities and could hamper economic development activity."
UA system data indicates the majority of employees are already vaccinated. At least 73% of University of Alabama employees, 72% of University of Alabama at Birmingham employees and 68% of University of Alabama at Huntsville employees are vaccinated. The system reports these as "minimum" vaccination numbers, given the data is pulled from voluntary self-reports and faculty/staff health centers.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson one-dose option or two weeks after receiving the second of the two-dose options from Moderna or Pfizer.
Auburn University informed employees Friday that they may need to move quickly to comply with the mandate. An employee would need to get the first dose of Moderna by Oct. 27 or the Pfizer vaccine by Nov. 3 to receive the second dose by Nov. 24 to meet the deadline two weeks later. The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be administered on Nov. 24.
"As a public research institution, Auburn is among hundreds of U.S. universities considered to be federal contractors," Auburn said in a statement. "Currently, Auburn maintains approximately $200 million in federal contracts that are expected to be impacted by this Order, including contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), among others. Federal contracts are also a major revenue source for communities across Alabama — this is one way tax dollars paid to the federal government come back to the state to benefit all Alabamians. In fiscal year 2020, Alabama contractors were awarded approximately $12 billion from 98,147 federal contracts or subcontracts."
Auburn noted that the mandate raises "issues of significant national interest and may become subject to legal challenges." It said it would communicate relevant updates to employees as needed.
President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Sept. 9 requiring vaccines for federal contractors.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Melissa Brown at 334-240-0132 or email@example.com.