Vaccinations to be required for UI staff in health care settings, Faculty Senate president says

UI health care department faculty and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated after an executive order was approved requiring vaccine mandates for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recipients.


Jake Wicks

The University of Iowa Faculty Council meet over Zoom in Iowa City on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The meeting composed primary of discussing the University’s current Covid-19 vaccination policies.

Kate Perez, News Reporter

University of Iowa’s faculty and staff in the health care departments will be required to be vaccinated after President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recipients was upheld in court, UI Faculty Senate President Teresa Marshall said Tuesday.

Although UI Health Care and other departments have not made an official announcement regarding employees’ vaccine requirements, Marshall told UI Faculty Council representatives on Tuesday that the vaccine mandate will be moving forward for health care departments to continue to provide certain services. 

“I think there’s 15 services that are included in this, and it includes the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics as well as Wendell Johnson’s Speech and Hearing facilities,” she said. 

The mandate includes individuals such as the oral surgeons and other hospital dentists that would be working at a UI hospital or clinic, Marshall said. 

“With respect to health care, it’ll include the faculty, the staff, the students, and some visitors,” Marshall said. “As before, individuals will be required to be vaccinated, have strongly held [religious] beliefs or documented health reasons in order to be exempt and HR is working on compliance.” 

RELATED: Federal vaccine mandate on hold as UI awaits result of lawsuits

Another executive order that mandates vaccines and masks for federal contractors was blocked by a federal judge in December. The Supreme Court in January blocked the requirement for employees of companies with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly if they are not vaccinated.

Overall, there is still no vaccine or mask mandates for the entire UI campus. During a COVID-19 update, Marshall said the UI COVID-19 advisory team said the campus testing capacity is improving. 

“They’re relaxing the rule, so your symptoms can be less severe in order to be tested, and they soon hope to be back to an on-demand testing [service],” Marshall said. 

Additionally, Marshall said the new addition of KN95 masks in the health stations in each building has been well received. 

“The KN95 masks were a huge success,” she said. “Almost all of them were taken as soon as they became available and they [the UI] are ordering more.”

As of Jan. 24, there have been 704 COVID-19 cases among students and employees since the beginning of the semester, and 2,468 cases since August 2021. Two residence hall students are in quarantine and 23 are in isolation. 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article did not specify that UI Health Care had not announced details of vaccination requirements for its employees. 

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