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Leadership Messages

COVID-19 vaccination requirement for faculty and staff in place September 27, 2021

Effective September 27, 2021, the University of Rochester will require all faculty and staff to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Our epidemiologists, public health experts, and scientists have stressed the effectiveness and safety of COVID vaccines. Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals 16 and older (with full approval of the Moderna vaccine anticipated shortly), we believe it is in the best interests of the health and safety of our entire University community to ensure that faculty and staff join with our students, who are already required to be vaccinated.

All faculty and staff must have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) or have received the single Johnson & Johnson dose by September 27. URMC clinical staff will continue to follow New York State Department of Health directives. We will communicate soon about the process for requesting exemptions from this requirement, so please watch for announcements on this topic in @Rochester and URMC This Week.

Getting vaccinated is easy. The Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Hub has information on where vaccines are available across the region. In addition, the Strong Memorial Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy is offering free, walk-in Pfizer vaccines Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. The University provides four hours of paid time off for vaccine appointments, and one day of paid time off after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for employees who may experience side effects. Full information and FAQ on vaccination can be found at the University’s COVID-19 Resource Center or the URMC Redesigned website (URMC login required).

Getting vaccinated is also safe and informed by science. As one of the world’s great research universities, we have first-hand experience with the life-saving discoveries that come from rigorous research and testing. In fact, researchers from our Medical Center conducted the nation’s first Phase 1 trials of the Pfizer vaccine.

Perhaps most importantly, getting vaccinated is aligned with our Meliora and ICARE values. Our obligations are not just to ourselves, but to our patients, students, colleagues, friends, and families, and to the Rochester region more broadly. We are taking this step to live our values, to contribute to the overall health of our region, and to ensure that we can continue to learn, discover, heal, and create in a thriving University community that is healthy and safe.

COVID-19 has been tough on all of us. The availability of vaccines that are effective against the most serious effects of this terrible disease – in its many variants – gives us hope of returning to some of the familiar patterns of our lives before the pandemic.

Thank you for your hard work and sacrifice over the last year and a half, and thank you for doing your part to keep our University moving forward.

Sincerely, and with admiration and appreciation,

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf
President and G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor

Mark B. Taubman
CEO, University of Rochester Medical Center and Dean, School of Medicine and Dentistry

Sarah E. Peyre
Interim Provost

Kathleen Gallucci
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

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