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Over 23,000 ASU employees compliant with COVID-19 vaccine mandate

All employees must submit proof of vaccination or receive an accommodation by Jan. 4 to remain employed at the University

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A vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is shown in the Desert Financial Arena vaccine site in Tempe on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. 


Just under 24,000 ASU employees have provided proof of compliance with ASU's employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate with its Jan. 4 deadline days away.

Additionally, 38,448 ASU students have uploaded their vaccination information to the ASU health portal, according to records obtained through a public records request.

Combined, over 60,000 ASU community members have uploaded proof of compliance, though some students are also part of the employee total, University spokesperson Chris Fiscus said in an email.

Hundreds of employees have been granted a religious or medical exemption. Employees, including faculty, staff and student workers, must either upload proof they are fully vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption on file by the early January deadline to remain employed by the University.

The vaccine requirement for ASU employees has no effect on students who do not hold University jobs.

Jay Thorne, a University spokesperson, said the 23,838 employees in compliance make up "the vast majority of employees and the effort to get everyone on record continues." 

In April 2020, ASU had around 28,000 employees. This fall semester, the University had record enrollment with over 130,000 students, 77,700 of which were on campus.

Based on those figures, just under half of all on-campus students have uploaded proof of vaccination. Thorne said they expect the number of students vaccinated is likely higher than how many have uploaded proof of vaccination.

"We continue to stress the need for everyone to get their vaccinations and boosters (if able), especially as the omicron variant spreads quickly across the U.S. and world, with many areas passing their record marks set last winter," Thorne said in an email. "That won’t stop regardless of what date is on the calendar."

Despite the University being on winter break active COVID-19 cases within the ASU community have increased, mirroring trends across the U.S.

According to the most recent University update on Dec. 27, there are 224 active COVID-19 cases among employees and students. Employees make up 61 cases, and student cases make up 163. Only one student is currently isolating on campus.

ASU's mandate was created following President Joe Biden's executive order requiring employees of companies with 100 or more employees to be fully vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated to undergo weekly testing. 

Because the University receives federal funding that is "essential to ASU’s mission as a comprehensive public research university as well as to the Arizona economy," Fiscus said in an email when the mandate was announced, "ASU is required to ensure that every university employee" upload proof of vaccination or have an accommodation on file.

The executive order has recently faced court battles that threatened its implementation. After the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a Louisiana federal judge's ruling to block Biden's vaccine mandate on Dec. 15, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati overturned the Fifth Circuit's ruling to reinstate the mandate.

Those rulings have not affected ASU's vaccine mandate for staff. No changes have been made surrounding the University's testing policies, specifically for those who are unvaccinated, either.

NAU suspended its COVID-19 vaccine requirement following earlier court rulings. 

The University originally required employees to be vaccinated by Dec. 8. After the Biden administration announced on Nov. 4 it moved back the deadline to Jan. 4, ASU moved back its deadline on Nov. 9 to align with the new date.

READ MORE: ASU to require all employees to get COVID-19 vaccine

In Arizona, 4.6 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 3.9 million people are fully vaccinated. 

ASU employees looking to seek medical or religious exemption can visit the University's "Workplace accommodations" site

Student workers who have already uploaded their vaccination status to the Health Portal must still upload their documents to the Employee Vaccination webpage


Reach the reporters at alcamp12@asu.edu and mcfisch4@asu.edu and follow @Anna_Lee_Camp and @morgfisch on Twitter.

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