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Vaccine Requirements for Students and Employees for Fall 2021

Washington State University (WSU), as the state’s land-grant university, has an obligation to serve the public good and promote the health and safety of the communities it serves. The COVID‑19 vaccine, now widely available, has been shown to nearly eliminate the chances of death or serious illness related to a COVID‑19 infection, and is a critical element in protecting public health locally and worldwide.

Vaccine requirements for students

WSU system-wide will require proof of the COVID‑19 vaccination for the 2021–2022 academic year for all students engaging in activities at a WSU campus or location.

Exemptions will be allowed for those with sincerely-held religious beliefs and documented medical reasons. Information about how to submit proof of vaccination and the process to request an exemption is available on the Cougar Health Services website. After any of the three currently approved vaccines receive full FDA approval, personal/philosophical exemptions will no longer be accepted. Students will have forty‑five (45) days following the approval date to provide proof of vaccination (or initiation of vaccination) or file a medical or religious exemption. Upon FDA approval, the updated process for filing a new medical or religious exemption will be provided.

WSU Global students enrolled in fully online programs and/or for which an on‑campus/location presence does not occur are automatically exempted from this requirement.

In order to participate in any on‑site or in‑person courses and activities, students at all WSU locations will be expected to be vaccinated by the start of the fall semester. Some programs may designate an earlier date for proof of vaccination or an exemption based on when fall semester in‑person activities begin. All WSU Pullman students living in university-owned housing will need to provide proof of vaccination, or have an approved exemption, by Friday, August 6, 2021. For students who have been granted exemptions, the university retains discretion to modify housing assignments as it deems necessary to protect public health and safety.

Beginning Friday, September 10, students not living in university housing or with program-specific requirements will be required to have documented proof of vaccine or an approved exemption. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be prevented from registering for spring semester courses and/or face other restrictions. Students with approved exemptions may be required to participate in regular COVID‑19 testing and/or other COVID‑19 public health measures.

Vaccine requirements for employees

Per Gov. Inslee’s proclamation, all state employees, including those in higher education, must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 18, 2021. Exemptions will be allowed for those with sincerely-held religious beliefs and documented medical reasons. WSU HRS is working on the process for verification and will have more details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, employees are still required to declare their vaccination status through Workday prior to August 23, 2021.

Acceptable vaccines

WSU will accept any vaccine currently approved by the WHO under their EUL/PQ process. For vaccinations requiring two doses, students and employees must have received both doses of the vaccine to meet the requirement. Proof of vaccination will also be required for anyone with a prior diagnosis of COVID‑19. WSU will work with any international students and employees who may have received a vaccine that is not approved for use in the United States.


The University reserves the right to modify this policy at any time in accordance with changing public health guidance or directives, best practices, and/or university needs.

Additional information about the requirement process will be made available this summer. For employee-related questions, please contact Human Resources Services at hrs@wsu.edu or 509‑335‑4521. For student-related questions and all other inquiries, please email covid‑19.info@wsu.edu.

Updated 8/18/2021

This website is not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical or legal advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.