COVID-19 Update: Federal Vaccine Requirement for Employees

Fall scene of campus
Fall campus scene on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. November 25, 2019. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

As you may be aware, President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 and guidance issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force requires employees of federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than Jan. 18, 2022.* UNC-Chapel Hill receives $160 million in federal contract funding, which supports cutting-edge research, educational programs, and other initiatives, so the University is subject to these requirements.

We are providing as much information on this requirement as possible in this email, and you can find updates and more information on the Carolina Together Vaccine page.

Most Employees Already Meet the Federal Requirement

As a result of our community’s efforts to encourage vaccination from the time they became available, the vast majority of University employees are already in compliance with this new requirement. They have already attested to, and in most cases, uploaded documentation of their vaccination status in Carolina’s secure system. This means that for most people, there is no further action needed. Thank you for doing your part in protecting yourself and those around you.

UNC-Chapel Hill employees who have attested to, but not yet uploaded documentation of their vaccination status to Carolina’s secure system, simply need to complete that step to ensure compliance. Those employees will receive communications directly asking them to do so no later than Jan.18, 2022* at the Vaccination Certification form.

What is Required?

The federal vaccine requirement applies to all employees who are working on or in connection with a federal contract or who work in the same location as employees working on a federal contract. The requirement applies to full-time, part-time and temporary employees, as well as those working remotely or under flexible work arrangements. Postdoctoral scholars and graduate assistants  are also subject to the requirement. Subject to further federal guidance, however, the federal vaccine requirement does not apply broadly to all categories of student workers.

Beginning today, the small number of University employees who have not yet been vaccinated  and who are subject to the new federal requirement will receive an individual email letting them know that they will be expected to let us know they are vaccinated at the Vaccination Certification form no later than Jan. 18, 2022*. Employees who want to request a medical or religious exemption can find information and instructions at the Vaccination Certification form.

Subject to further guidance, covered employees who do not comply with the vaccine requirement or receive an approved exemption may be subject to disciplinary action.

Key Dates for the Requirement*

Under federal guidance, individuals are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after completing either a second dose in a two-dose series or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. To be fully vaccinated by the Jan. 18 federal deadline*, employees should complete their vaccination according to the following schedules:

  • For Moderna, you should receive your first dose by Dec. 8 and your second dose by Jan. 5.
  • For Pfizer, you should receive your first dose by Dec. 15 and your second dose by Jan. 12.
  • For Johnson & Johnson you should receive one dose by Jan. 5.

Booster shots are not included under the federal vaccine requirement.

Getting Your Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is free and readily available in our community. Faculty and staff can receive the vaccine at the Campus Health Pharmacy in the Student Stores, in central campus. Appointments are preferred but walk-ins are welcome. In addition, the Carolina Together website has information about vaccine sites statewide, including UNC Health locations.

University policy allows employees up to eight hours in one day paid work time for vaccinations occurring within regular work hours, with their supervisor’s permission. Employees are also entitled to paid leave for adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccinations on the day or the day after the vaccine is received.

We encourage you to act now, for your own health and the health of your community and to continue the important work of our University.


Kevin M. Guskiewicz

Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Becci Menghini
Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance


*This post was edited on Nov. 18, 2021 in accordance with President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 and guidance from the Safer Workforce Task Force to extend the deadline for employees of federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to Jan. 18, 2022. Learn more on the COVID-19 Vaccination page.