UA temporarily disables employee vaccine exemption request form 

Ainsley Platt, Staff Reporter

UA employees can request medical, disability and religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but the exemption request form is temporarily unavailable. 

An update posted on the University’s coronavirus information website and the UA Vaccine Management Portal said the University removed the form on Nov. 5 for “necessary updates.” It’s unclear when the form will be available.

Exemption requests submitted before the forms were removed “have been received and are being evaluated.” The University still recommends that all exemption requests be submitted before Nov. 19 to allow time for evaluation and appeals, if necessary. 

The University announced the mandate to comply with President Joe Biden’s recent executive order, which require vaccinations for federal workers.

UA faculty, staff and student employees  must be at least two weeks removed from receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or from the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the Jan. 4 deadline.

The University’s removal of the form coincided with the the passage of a state bill that prohibits employers from firing anyone who refuses a COVID-19 vaccine. Governor Kay Ivey’s signed it into law on Nov. 5.

The legislation’s influence on the University’s compliance with the federal mandate is unknown at the time of publication. The University has not responded to requests for comment related to the law. 

On the UA System COVID-19 Dashboard, at least 72.5% of UA faculty and staff have reported one or more COVID-19 shots.