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Compliance with new federal vaccination requirement

Categories: Health & safety, Policies, Vaccine, Workplace & HR

UPDATE as of Nov. 4, 2021: The effective date for the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees of federal contractors, including Stanford, has been moved from Dec. 8, 2021, to Jan. 4, 2022. Stanford still has a deadline of Nov. 12, 2021, for faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars to submit accommodation requests. More information is available here.

Dear Stanford community,

On Sept. 9, President Biden announced an executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees of federal contractors. Today, we are writing to share information about how Stanford will comply with this order and additional guidance issued on Sept. 24.

If you are fully vaccinated and have uploaded proof of vaccination on Health Check, you do not need to read the remainder of this message.

For everyone else, here are the new requirements.

All Stanford faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and upload proof of their vaccination status on Health Check by Jan. 4, 2022, unless they have a medical or religious accommodation. Previously, we had an additional allowance for those choosing not to be vaccinated for any reason, but this accommodation is no longer allowed under the new federal mandate.

This expanded requirement – which is only for the initial course of vaccinations, not boosters – will apply to all university employees, including those working remotely in the United States, and applicable subcontractors.

Those who do not comply with this requirement and have not been granted a medical or religious accommodation will not be able to perform work for the university. We will provide additional guidance on a central process for requesting accommodations in a separate communication the week of Oct. 18. We encourage colleagues with questions to contact University Human Relations at

It is important to note that the process needs to begin well in advance for someone to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination on Health Check by Jan. 4. Timeframes will vary, depending on the vaccine manufacturer.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine and has issued emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Click here for resources and links to vaccination providers.

As a reminder, Stanford has extended COVID Flex Hours, the interim policy providing up to 80 hours of paid time to address COVID-related needs through Dec. 17, 2021. COVID Flex Hours may be used for vaccinations and common side effects.

Who is affected by the executive order? The order broadly applies to employees who work on or support others who work on federal contracts and agreements, and to individuals with whom they may interact at Stanford locations. As a result, due to the many federal contracts and requirements at Stanford and the open nature of our campus, the federal requirement will extend to virtually every university employee. Our compliance efforts will align our policies, which also require vaccination and testing for students, with those at many of our peer universities, which already had similar requirements in place or will need to do so now.

Vaccination remains the most important protection against COVID-19. We understand the federal government’s steps to encourage and require vaccinations, and are grateful that vaccination rates here at Stanford are well above 95% for those reporting their status on Health Check.

We are continuing to monitor and adjust to changing public health requirements and conditions as we work together for a more normal autumn at Stanford.

A growing number of people are returning to campus, and teaching, research and social activities are on the upswing. Thank you for your understanding, flexibility and resolve in adjusting to COVID protocols. Together, we can maintain our momentum and keep one another as safe as possible.


Persis Drell

Lloyd Minor, M.D.
Dean, School of Medicine

Russell Furr
Associate Vice Provost, Environmental Health & Safety