All faculty and staff of Mercer University are now required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a communication from University President Bill Underwood. The requirement comes as a result of President Joe Biden's executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all federal contractors and their employees.
"COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in the United States," the order said. "They protect people from getting infected and severely ill, and they significantly reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death."
The order affects student employees as well, as they are employed by the university.
According to Underwood, "approximately" 90% of Mercer employees are already fully vaccinated. The campus breakdown is not provided.
For those who have not yet received their vaccine, the deadline to submit documentation is Dec. 8, 2021, which is prior to the last day of the fall term. Two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are acceptable.
The final day to receive the final dose of the vaccine is Nov. 24.
"Please get vaccinated," the communication states. "Failure to comply with this requirement will require the University to conclude your employment, which we would very much regret."
Employees who cannot be vaccinated due to medical concerns or "sincerely held religious beliefs" are asked to contact University Vice Provost Kelly with this information. According to Healthline, there are limited medical concerns for the COVID-19 vaccine, but people who have had severe allergic reactions to the ingredients of the vaccine should talk to their doctor.
Appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can be made at many locations throughout Macon, including Mercer. To schedule an appointment with Mercer Medicine, visit their scheduling website.
Mary Helene Hall ‘23 is a journalism and women’s and gender studies student who has worked for The Cluster throughout her time at Mercer. She has held internships at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AL.com, where she covered a variety of topics including politics, crime and culture.