Coronavirus Frequently Asked Question

What is the COVID vaccination policy for Silicon Valley Extension students?

The final UC COVID-19 vaccination policy is the product of a continued review of evidence from medical studies concerning the dangerousness of COVID-19 as well as the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for preventing infection, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19, and for reducing the spread of this deadly disease. The final policy is also the product of consultation with the UC community that began in April, which revealed strong support for moving forward with a vaccination requirement now.

To maintain the health and well-being of the campus community and that of the general public, the COVID-19 vaccination requirement applies not only to employees and students alike, including faculty, academic appointees, staff, postdoctoral researchers, trainees, as a condition of their physical access UC facilities, as well as in-person participation in UC programs that may occur off-site (such as UC athletics programs or study abroad).

UC arrived at this policy after reviewing the safety and efficacy of the three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use, and after considering the severe risks presented by a virus that has killed more than 600,000 people in the United States alone as well as the rise of variants that are more transmissible and more virulent.

Please upload proof of COVID vaccination or your request for exception or deferment today!

2. When does the final policy go into effect?

This final policy takes effect immediately, with a systemwide deadline for submitting proof of vaccination that depends on the location’s calendar.

UCSC Silicon Valley Extension students are required to submit proof of vaccination one week prior to the course start date. That deadline also applies to requests for an allowable exception (on medical, disability, or religious grounds) or deferral (based on pregnancy).

3. Does this final policy require vaccination for all students or only those who participate in on-site activities?

The requirement to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination (or to submit a request for an exception on medical, disability, or religious grounds, or for a deferral based on pregnancy) takes effect for all students as a condition of in-person access to UC locations or programs (even if not at a UC location, such as an athletics or study abroad program).

You will not be allowed on campus if you are not vaccinated or submitted an approved exception and masked. If you intend to remain fully remote. You are not required to be vaccinated.

The University continues to encourage all individuals to be vaccinated even if they will not be on-site at UC locations this fall. Vaccination against the virus that causes COVID-19 is a critical step for protecting the health and safety of our communities and ending the pandemic.

4. Does this requirement apply to graduate students? Some of them are employed by University.

The policy requires all graduate, undergraduate and professional students, and other personnel, who are accessing a UC facility or program in-person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, subject to the allowable exceptions (on medical, disability, or religious grounds) or deferral (based on pregnancy).

5. How can students get vaccines? Will UC offer vaccinations?

UC encourages students and their families to look for opportunities near their homes to be vaccinated, such as at local pharmacies. All people ages 12 and above across the United States are now eligible to receive a vaccine. In California, you may also seek a vaccination appointment online at or by calling 1-833-422-4255 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All locations that are campuses and medical centers will offer COVID-19 vaccination on-site or maintain a list of nearby and accessible off-site locations offering vaccination to people covered by this policy. This provision of the policy is not intended to restrict an individual’s choice of provider but to maximize their access to the vaccine.

6. Is this a one-time mandate or will I be required to get boosters or annual shots?

This is a permanent policy. Infectious disease experts anticipate that annual or more frequent boosters will be necessary, and receipt of boosters will be required, consistent with product labeling, in the same way that the initial vaccination is required by this policy and subject to the same exceptions and deferrals.

7. What does “fully vaccinated” mean? Does it refer to one or two shots depending on vaccine? Does it include a period of time after the dose for an immune response?

A person is considered “fully” vaccinated” when two weeks have passed since they completed a COVID-19 vaccine series (for example, 1 dose of the Janssen/J&J vaccine, or 2 doses within no more than 12 weeks of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine) as well as any boosters consistent with manufacturer’s instructions and applicable agency approval, authorization, or listing.

8. How do I demonstrate proof of vaccination? Who will maintain the student documentation?

UC campuses already have systems in place for gathering immunization information, and those platforms will be used for this requirement. UCSC Silicon Valley students will be required to enter dates of vaccination and upload an image of their COVID-19 vaccination card through a secure Docusign their Student Health Services portal for verifications.

Individuals covered by this policy who seek an exception (on medical, disability, or religious grounds) or deferral (during pregnancy) must complete the request form and submit it to the UCSC Silicon Valley Docusign portal.

Model forms have been published with this final policy for adaptation or as-is use by each location. Students should use the forms adopted by their campus. Details will be communicated by each campus to its students.

You may upload proof of COVID vaccination or your request for exception or deferment today.

9. Are medical exemptions or disability or religious accommodations allowed?

Yes. Requests UC allows for an exception based on a medical exemption, disability, or religious belief. Students who have been granted an exception or are waiting to hear about a pending request may be subject to special requirements such as increased surveillance testing.

UCSC Silicon Valley students should use the forms adapted for the Extension campus.

10. Why is UC allowing exceptions for reasons other than medical exemption (e.g., for reasons other than a contraindication or precaution to receiving the vaccine established by the CDC or the manufacturer? If California can eliminate personal belief and religious exceptions for K-12 students, why can’t UC do the same?

The University is required by law to offer reasonable accommodations to individuals who qualify for an exception to the vaccination requirement based on their disabilities, as well as to employees who object to vaccination based on their sincerely-held religious belief, practice, or observance. A decision was made to apply the COVID-19 vaccine mandate consistently across all groups of individuals covered by this policy. Vaccination against the virus that causes COVID-19 is a critical step for protecting the health and safety of our communities and ending the pandemic.

11. I am pregnant. Will I be eligible for a medical exemption?

No, but you are eligible for a deferral throughout your pregnancy, and may also be eligible for a disability accommodation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant people and recently pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illnesses are illnesses that require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death.

Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes compared with pregnant people without COVID-19. There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause female or male fertility problems. Accordingly, the University strongly recommends that all students, trainees, and personnel be vaccinated unless they have contraindications or precautions, as defined by the CDC. Contraindications and precautions are a condition that may increase the risk for a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine, may cause diagnostic confusion if the vaccine is administered, or may compromise the ability of the vaccine to produce immunity. However, if you are pregnant, you will be eligible for deferral through the end of the pregnancy.

12. I was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, and/or I had an antibody test that shows that I have natural immunity. Does this support a medical exemption?

You may be eligible for a temporary medical exemption (and, therefore, a temporary exception), for up to 90 days after your diagnosis. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, however, “a positive result from an antibody test does not mean you have a specific amount of immunity or protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection … Currently authorized SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests are not validated to evaluate specific immunity or protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection.” For this reason, individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had an antibody test are not permanently exempt from vaccination.

13. How do I apply for an exception or deferral?

Individuals covered by this policy who seek an exception (on medical, disability, or religious grounds) or deferral (during pregnancy) must complete the request form and submit it to their location’s Responsible Office.

14. If I have applied for or been granted an exception or deferral, what non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) will I be required to observe?

See Appendix A: COVID-19 Prevention Strategies, which describes required NPIs. Additional safety measures may be deemed necessary, depending on the circumstances, by local public health, environmental health, and safety, occupational health, or infection prevention authorities, including the Location Vaccine Authority. In that case, a person who has received an approved exception or deferral (or whose request is pending) will be informed of any additional requirements.

15. How will exception or exemption requests be documented and by whom?

Students should use the forms adopted by their campus. Each one will be reviewed by UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Registrar.

16. Will a vaccine that is under emergency use authorization and not final FDA approval satisfy the requirement?

Yes, all COVID-19 vaccines offered under the FDA’s approval based on emergency use authorization (EUA)—or full approval by the FDA, as expected in the coming months—will satisfy the vaccination requirement. (Please see #19 for information on international vaccines.)

17. What if I am not eligible for a vaccine?

All people ages 12 and older across the United States are now eligible to receive a vaccine. Students who are eligible for a vaccine but wish to decline it may qualify for an exception (on medical, disability, or religious grounds) or deferral (based on pregnancy) under the policy.

To allow time for processing such requests, students should submit their requests as soon as possible, and no later than their first date of instruction for the term when they first enroll. Students who are also employees should refer to the FAQs for Employees.

18. Who will pay for the vaccine?

Initial supplies have been paid for by the federal government. Vaccines administered by the University to consenting covered individuals as part of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program (e.g., during vaccine clinics or at employee health or occupational health offices) are administered free of charge. In addition, all of the University’s health plans cover CDC-recommended vaccines administered by an employee’s primary care physician or at a local pharmacy. UC SHIP also covers the cost of vaccine administration.

19. Will the University accept internationally approved vaccines even if not authorized or approved in the United States?

Yes, if the vaccine is authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO has developed a process for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics during public health emergencies. Through that process, a number of vaccines not available in the United States have received Emergency Use Listing (EUL). A document summarizing the status of a wide range of international vaccines can be found online on the WHO website. The University will, consistent with CDC and CDPH guidance, accept proof of full vaccination with any international vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by WHO through the EUL process. People who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with one of these vaccines do not need additional doses with an FDA-licensed or -authorized COVID-19 vaccine, at least initially (but may be subject to subsequent booster requirements).

Those who are not fully vaccinated generally will be required to receive an FDA-licensed or -authorized vaccine no less than 28 days after their last international vaccination (but may consult with the Location Vaccine Authority or designee to discuss eligibility for a temporary medical exemption). In the interim, they will be treated as if they are not fully vaccinated.

20. I was vaccinated in a country where the government increased the time between first and second vaccines longer than U.S. labeling. Do I have to be revaccinated?

No. If you have proof of completing a series of any FDA-licensed or FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine consistent with your country’s implementation, you will be considered to have been fully vaccinated.

24. What are the consequences of non-compliance for students?

Students who choose not to be immunized and who do not receive an approved medical exemption, disability or religious belief exception or a deferral based on pregnancy will not meet UC’s health and safety condition for attending in-person classes or events or access to campus facilities, Unvaccinated students may not be allowed to enter the building, register for classes, or may have class registration canceled.

We have seen strong interest in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from people across California. We believe this demand will continue and most people will make the decision to be vaccinated against a virus that can cause serious disease and has killed more than 600,000 people in the United States alone.

25. How will these consequences be enforced?

Covered individuals who fail to participate by being vaccinated or requesting an exception or deferral on or before the implementation date will not be permitted physical access to University facilities and programs and may experience consequences as a result of non-participation, up to and including dismissal from educational programs.


Updated Sept. 10, 2021