The UC Office of the President has established a systemwide vaccine policy that requires all employees and students to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, including a booster shot if eligible, before they will be allowed in any UC facility or office or to participate in-person in any UC program. On May 16, 2023 changes were announced that require students and employees to either be up-to-date with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations or affirmatively decline to receive the vaccines.
Current Status of Vaccinations
On May 16, 2023, the University of California Office of the President announced revisions to the University of California COVID-19 vaccine policy, to allow students, faculty, and staff using campus facilities the option of affirmatively declining required COVID-19 vaccines without the need for approval of exceptions or exemptions. The University will still require students and employees to be up-to-date with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations, including current bivalent vaccine recommendations, but now there will be an option through the UCSB MyHealth Portal, under the “Clearances” section, to affirmatively decline the vaccinations.
Entering students and new employees are required to be compliant with COVID-19 vaccinations before arrival, which includes the option of affirmatively declining. Continuing students, staff, and faculty will be required to be compliant — either by having the latest bivalent vaccine or by affirmatively declining it — by a deadline to be established later this year.
Individuals are considered up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination if they have received one updated bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve received any original COVID-19 vaccines.
Individuals are considered compliant at UC Santa Barbara if they have provided verification of having received vaccinations approved by FDA or WHO to meet the University of California - Policy on Vaccination Programs, or have completed the Vaccine Declination Statement. The COVID-19 vaccine bivalent dose may be declined by filling out the Vaccine Declination Statement located under the Clearances tab in your UCSB MyHealth Portal.
At UC Santa Barbara, those who received their COVID-19 vaccines from a provider other than Student Health should upload their vaccine documentation through the MyHealth Portal, under the Clearances tab. Those who receive vaccinations through Student Health do not have to upload their vaccination information.
COVID-19 vaccine appointments continue to be available locally through the California Department of Public Health portal MyTurn. Registration by telephone also is available in multiple languages at the CA COVID-19 Hotline (1-833-422-4255).
The website Vaccines.gov also provides information about vaccine availability at nearby locations. Residents of Ventura County can make vaccination appointments on the Ventura County Recovers website, and those in San Luis Obispo County can do so on their COVID-19 website.
Anyone needing assistance in making an appointment can call 2-1-1 and select option 4 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily).
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, the potential confluence of infections from COVID-19 and influenza poses a threat to the health and safety of the UC community and the public at large. Therefore, the University of California - Policy on Vaccination Programs requires that all faculty, students, and staff receive or affirmatively decline an annual influenza vaccination. Employees may satisfy this requirement by self-attestation through the MyHealth Portal, under the Clearances tab.
Following the FDA emergency use authorization of the updated COVID-19 vaccine bivalent booster and guidance from the CDC, the California Department of Public Health now recommends the new bivalent Pfizer or Moderna booster shots for EVERYONE over the age of 6 months old. The bivalent vaccines or “updated boosters,” contain two mRNA components of SARS-CoV-2 virus; one of the original strain and one from the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant. UC Santa Barbara Student Health has the Moderna COVID-19 bivalent booster shots available by appointment for students.
COVID-19 booster shots are widely available free-of-charge from some local health care providers and at local pharmacies, with appointments available through the MyTurn site. Bivalent boosters are required by the University of California - Policy on Vaccination Programs, for eligible faculty, students, and staff, but can be declined by filling out the Vaccine Declination Statement located under the Clearances tab in your UCSB MyHealth Portal.
Eligibility for a COVID-19 booster is 2 months after a previous COVID-19 vaccine dose. If you have recently had a COVID-19 infection, you may wait no longer than 90 days to get a COVID-19 booster, but we encourage you to get the booster sooner.
Students, faculty, and staff should check their confidential record in the MyHealth Portal to determine if their booster shot is recorded under the Clearances tab, which provides an opportunity to upload your vaccine records and enter the dates of vaccinations.