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Penn State opens COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption process to employees

A view of the lawn and front of Old Main building on Penn State's University Park campus
WPSU

Penn State employees who think they should be given a medical exemption from the university's requirement that they get vaccinated for COVID-19 can begin applying for one now and have until Nov. 12, under a process the university announced Friday.

All employees — including faculty and staff, and graduate and undergraduate students who are on the payroll — at University Park and eight other campuses are required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8. The university also announced that the mandate applies to all Penn State Extension employees. Penn State says the mandate is in keeping with President Biden's executive order requiring federal employees, contractors and others to be vaccinated.

Under the process announced Friday, employees who have a medical disability or condition they believe exempts them from the vaccine mandate have to submit an online form and have a medical provider sign off on it. The form asks for a signed letter providing the condition and whether it is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its guidance.

The application says the university's Occupational Medicine and University Health Services will review the applications along with the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator or Student Disability Resources Office, if appropriate.

The university plans to process the requests on a rolling basis, and approval is not guaranteed.

"Penn State will also weigh the request with community health, safety, and other considerations," the application says.

According to the university's COVID-19 dashboard, 82.1% of full-time employees at University Park are known to be fully vaccinated.

A process for applying for religious accommodation was announced on Monday. Those applications are due by Nov. 5.

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