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“No Longer Eligible to Work at Harvard”

10.18.21

The Harvard Shield

The Harvard Shield

As of October 15, 97 percent of on-campus employees were vaccinated. By December 8, in compliance with the Biden administration’s executive order of September 9, directing that employees of federal contractors be fully vaccinated, Harvard is aiming for 100 percent, according to an email from President Lawrence S. Bacow, Provost Alan M. Garber, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp, and University Health Services Executive Director Giang T. Nguyen. Writing to the community last Friday, the four leaders said, “As a federal contractor, Harvard University will comply with these requirements.”

Working away from campus does not constitute permission to defer vaccination: “Consistent with the new federal guidance, all Harvard employees, including those who are on 100 percent remote work status, must be fully vaccinated.” The usual exemptions apply (“Employees who claim a medical or religious exemption are required to submit for review signed exemption-claim documentation, and they will be notified if they have been deemed legally exempt from the federal requirement”)—but otherwise, the rule is absolute: “Individuals who do not have a legal exemption and are not fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021, will no longer be eligible to work at Harvard.”

Those who do qualify for a legal exemption for medical or religious reasons will be subject to more frequent COVID-19 testing requirements and “may be subject to additional public health measures. Failure to comply with the more frequent testing requirements and other additional public health measures will result in appropriate disciplinary measures.” 

The message concluded:

Our best weapon against COVID-19 is campus-wide vaccination. These vaccines work in preventing serious infections and are highly effective coupled with masks and our other public health measures. With your continued commitment and vigilance, we can ensure that we and our colleagues and loved ones stay safe.

Thank you for playing your role in protecting our community against COVID-19.

The federal order is having the same effect on other campuses, too. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Arizona’s three public universities, Penn State, and the University of Delaware have all announced compliance with the December 8 deadline.

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Photograph Commencement procession into Harvard Yard Tercentenary Theatre

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