Vaccine information:

VACCINE FAQs:

1. Does the University still have a vaccine mandate for employees?

Federal courts have now put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. On Dec. 7, 2021, a federal court issued a nationwide order to suspend the vaccine mandate for employees of federal contractors. This follows a Nov. 30 federal court order to suspend the CMS vaccine mandate for health care workers. As a result, UA’s vaccine requirement is suspended. At this time, UA will not be required to take action regarding unvaccinated employees on Jan. 4, 2022. Because the ultimate outcome of legal challenges is not decided, we will continue to closely monitor legal developments and provide guidance to employees.

2. Can employees, including student employees, still report their vaccination or apply for an exemption even though the mandate is on hold?

Yes. If the injunctions are lifted by the courts, UA must be ready to comply with federal requirements. If you are an employee (including student employees) who does not already have a COVID-19 vaccine record or an approved vaccine exemption on file with UA, please consider taking the following steps as a voluntary measure:
Taking these voluntary steps now will help ensure (1) medical, disability or religious exemption requests are processed in a timely manner, and (2) UA can achieve compliance if the injunctions are lifted. It also provides UA’s health and safety leadership important data to guide future decisions about on-campus safety strategies.

3. How do employees report vaccination status or request an exemption?

UA employees, including student employees, should use the UA Vaccine Management Portal to voluntarily report vaccination status or request a disability/medical or religious exemption. Student employees who previously uploaded vaccination documents to receive an incentive and want to report their status should use the portal as well. Requests for a medical, disability or religious exemption can also continue to be submitted through the portal.

4. Do student employees who uploaded vaccination documentation earlier for incentive programs still need to take action in the portal and upload documentation there?

Federal courts have now put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. Any student employees who choose to voluntarily report their vaccination status or request an exemption should report vaccination status in the portal even if they previously uploaded documentation to qualify for incentives.

5. What prompted the original need for employees to be vaccinated?

On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14042 requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to implement COVID-19 safety protocols, including mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for employees (faculty, staff, and student employees). Further guidance was released several weeks later that confirmed UA and other higher education institutions are subject to the requirements of the Executive Order. Failure to comply would place The University of Alabama in jeopardy of losing hundreds of millions of dollars that we receive through federal contracts and awards as well as thousands of jobs funded, in part, by those dollars. UPDATE: On Dec. 7, 2021, federal courts put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. As a result, UA’s vaccine requirement is suspended. Because the ultimate outcome of legal challenges is not decided, we will continue to closely monitor legal developments and provide guidance to employees.

6. Who was affected by the federal vaccination mandate?

Based on the scope of the order and guidance, all UA faculty, staff, and student employees who do not have an approved exemption due to a disability accommodation, medical condition, or sincerely-held religious belief were required to meet the mandate. UPDATE: On Dec. 7, 2021, federal courts put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. As a result, UA’s vaccine requirement is suspended. Because the ultimate outcome of legal challenges is not decided, we will continue to closely monitor legal developments and provide guidance to employees.

7. When was the deadline to comply?

Previously, all UA faculty, staff, and student employees were required to receive their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or have requested an exemption by Jan. 4, 2022UPDATE: On Dec. 7, 2021, federal courts put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. As a result, UA’s vaccine requirement is suspended. Because the ultimate outcome of legal challenges is not decided, we will continue to closely monitor legal developments and provide guidance to employees.

8. Am I required to use leave time to get vaccinated?

No, an employee should not be required to use accrued leave time when they are scheduled for vaccination. An employee will be permitted up to 1-hour to leave and return from their scheduled vaccination. If an employee exceeds 1-hour, they will need to use accrued leave time unless there are extenuating circumstances. In those cases, the department should communicate with their assigned HR Business Partner.

9. Where can I get the vaccine?

All three vaccine options are available at no cost through the University Medical Center, Student Health Center or a number of other medical facilities or pharmacies, but timelines for the two-dose vaccines are short, so schedule your appointment now.

10. Can I still receive my vaccination on campus?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost to all UA students, faculty and staff upon request. Vaccines will be available by appointment or walk-in at University Medical Center and the Student Health Center each Tuesday from 1:00-7:30 p.m. or at other times by appointment by calling (205) 348-1471. Additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available online at healthinfo.ua.edu/vaccine/.

11. Which vaccines does UA accept?

UA accepts COVID-19 vaccines authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Currently, this includes the following COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Covishield, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm/BIBP, Sinovac, and clinical trial of other vaccine.

12. How do I prove I’ve been vaccinated?

UA employees, including student employees, may use the UA Vaccine Management Portal to report vaccination status by uploading the CDC card or other proof of vaccination. Student employees who previously uploaded vaccination documents to receive an incentive and want to voluntarily report their status should use the portal as well. Requests for a medical, disability or religious exemption can also continue to be submitted through the portal.

13. How do I upload my proof of vaccination in the portal?

Documents can be submitted as jpg, pdf or png files. You can take a picture with your phone or scan the document and upload the image. The system is user-friendly and can be completed with your smartphone. Contact the HR Service Center at 205-348-7732 and hrsvctr@ua.edu if you need assistance.

14. What if I am vaccinated but can’t find my card?

If you have lost your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card or don’t have a copy, contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record. If you are unable to contact your vaccination provider, but were vaccinated in Alabama, contact the Alabama Department of Public Health at 1-800-469-4599.

15. What do I have to do to request a disability, medical or religious exemption from getting the vaccine?

You may complete an online exemption request through the UA Vaccine Management Portal. You will receive notification of approval or denial. Employees requesting a medical exemption for this reason: “My healthcare provider has recommended to me that I refuse the COVID-19 vaccination based on my current health conditions and medications” will be required to attach a signed copy of the Medical Provider Form to your COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption Request Form within the portal. Note: If your medical provider has already completed a previous version of this form, you may attach it instead. Employees requesting an exemption for any other reason must complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption Request Form within the portal.UPDATE: On Dec. 7, 2021, federal courts put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. As a result, UA’s vaccine requirement is suspended. Because the ultimate outcome of legal challenges is not decided, we will continue to closely monitor legal developments and provide guidance to employees.

16. If I am working remotely, would the federal mandate still apply to me?

Yes, if it is upheld, the federal mandate covers employees working remotely in the United States if they work on or in connection with a federal contract. Employees who do not work on or in connection with a federal contract and who work fully remotely (i.e. you never come to campus for any work-related reason) are not covered by this requirement. UPDATE: On Dec. 7, 2021, federal courts put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. As a result, UA’s vaccine requirement is suspended. Because the ultimate outcome of legal challenges is not decided, we will continue to closely monitor legal developments and provide guidance to employees.

17. Will the federal vaccine requirement apply to new hires?

UPDATE: On Dec. 7, 2021, federal courts put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. As a result, UA’s vaccine requirement is suspended. Because the ultimate outcome of legal challenges is not decided, we will continue to closely monitor legal developments and provide guidance to employees. If upheld, COVID-19 vaccines or a medical, disability, and/or religious exemptions will be required for any new employee joining the university as of the mandate deadline.

18. If I am on an approved leave, including but not limited to FMLA, OJI, military, maternity, etc., would the requirement still apply to me?

UPDATE: On Dec. 7, 2021, federal courts put the vaccine requirement on hold for further consideration. As a result, UA’s vaccine requirement is suspended. Because the ultimate outcome of legal challenges is not decided, we will continue to closely monitor legal developments and provide guidance to employees. If upheld, yes, the federal COVID-19 vaccine requirement applies to all affected employees.  Employees would need to show proof of vaccination or be approved for an exemption before returning to work.

19. Where do I find our level of community transmission?

The Alabama Department of Public Health is one site that tracks community transmission based upon the percent positive tests and new cases per 100,000 persons over a 7-day period. ADPH data is updated daily on its dashboard. Tuscaloosa County continues to trend downward in transmission levels, and the University will continue to monitor this data and other data to inform protocols required by Executive Order 14042.

20. How do I upload my proof of vaccination in the portal?

Documents can be submitted as jpg, pdf or png files. You can take a picture with your phone or scan the document and upload the image. The system is user-friendly and can be completed with your smartphone. Contact the HR Service Center at 205-348-7732and hrsvctr@ua.edu if you need assistance.

MASK FAQs:

1. Why are masks being required on Crimson Ride buses?

The CDC has issued an Order requiring that individuals wear masks on any conveyance including aircraft, trains, buses, and subways. This guidance will be updated as necessary to comply with CDC requirements.

2. Can a member of the campus community require masks as a condition of entering a facility or attending an in-person meeting or class? 

No (except for private offices). Masks are only required when an individual is (1) unvaccinated, (2) in a medical care facility or clinical setting, and/or (3) on public transit. However, employees may require masks within their own private offices. University faculty, staff, and students cannot impose more restrictive requirements in other settings. Anyone, including those who are fully vaccinated, should feel comfortable choosing to wear a mask, even when not required.

3. Can a faculty member request a student’s vaccine status?

No, this is protected health information.

4. What do I do if someone is not wearing a mask and I know they are not fully vaccinated?

Potential violations of the mask requirements for employees should be reported to human resources.  For students, such potential violations should be shared with the Office of Student Conduct.

5. Where do I find the current rate of transmission for Tuscaloosa County that frames the mask guidance?

The Situational Response Team reviews several sources of data. The CDC site states: “For the most complete and up-to-date data for any particular county or state, visit the relevant health department website.” As of Friday, Oct. 29, ADPH listed Tuscaloosa County as “moderate.”  And, of course, the campus reported even lower rates for the same period.