UAF mandates vaccinations at research sites

A COVID-19 vaccination requirement has been implemented for all employees working on the Troth Yeddha’ campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and at campus research sites, and for all university employees at locations funded by UAF federal contracts.

According to Interim President Pat Pitney, UAF could lose substantial federal contracts, and with them jobs supporting over 750 employees and their families, without doing so. Pitney added that the ripple effect of the loss of those contracts would be felt widely as UAF’s research enterprise works with local contractors and suppliers statewide.

UAF currently has $200 million in multi-year federal contracts that fall under the executive order and expects close to a $100 million more in coming months.

President Biden’s executive order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, requires all employees paid by or supporting new or modified federal contracts to be vaccinated by early December. The order applies to anyone who works to support those directly paid by federal contracts or works in the same facility to get the COVID vaccination.

Pitney said neither the University of Alaska Anchorage nor University of Alaska Southeast face federal contract modifications at this time. The university is continuing to evaluate the situation and may have to extend the requirement to employees at other UA locations to comply with new contract modifications or other federal funding stipulations.

Attorneys general for Arizona and Florida are both challenging Biden’s executive order in federal court and asked for temporary restraining orders to halt implementation, The state of Alaska meanwhile has joined several other states in challenging the order and Pitney said she supports the state’s efforts to challenge the scope of the federal order.