Duke University employees who are not vaccinated by Oct. 1 will face the risk of being terminated.
Employees at the university will have until 10 a.m. on Oct. 1 to show documentation of their completed COVID-19 vaccination, according to a notice posted by Duke on Sunday.
Individuals not inoculated by that day will be placed on unpaid administrative leave and be issued a “Final Written Warning.” They will then have seven days to receive either the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
Staff members who do not get inoculated within those seven days will be terminated.
Individuals who receive a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will then have up to six weeks to show documentation that they completed the vaccination series, according to the university. If they do not receive their second shots within that period, they will be terminated.
Faculty members terminated for not complying with the vaccine requirement "would not be eligible for rehire with Duke in the future,” the university noted.
Despite the new vaccine requirement, the school is still allowing employees to apply for a medical or religious exemption. Anyone approved under those parameters, however, will have to wear masks, monitor symptoms daily, undergo weekly surveillance testing and follow other COVID-19 mitigation protocols.
More than 91 percent of Duke’s 22,136 employees are vaccinated, according to the university.
The new guidance will not affect the vaccination policies and deadlines in place for Duke’s School of Medicine, School of Nursing and University Health System. The deadline for those institutions is still 10 a.m. on Sept. 21, according to the university.
The new regulations for Duke employees come after the university announced in April that it would require all students to show proof of vaccination before returning to campus for the fall semester.
A number of universities nationwide are also mandating that students and staff be vaccinated as a requirement to come back to campus for the fall semester, including Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and Indiana University.
The policies come as the country is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases driven largely by the highly infectious delta variant, which has taken hold as the dominant strain in the U.S.