Vaccination Policy FAQs

FAQs last updated on Sept. 8.

POLICY
Who does the UC Policy apply to?

1. All Berkeley Lab employees, whether they are working on site, teleworking, or are remote workers;

2. All Affiliates who are or will be working at a Berkeley Lab location. The Policy does not include Affiliates who know or reasonably understand they will have no on-site work within their scope/assignment or otherwise. Please note: Affiliates who have not provided proof of vaccination to the Lab may be denied access to the site after Nov. 1, 2021, should access be required.


How do I establish compliance with the November 1, 2021 date?

  1. Upload your completed vaccine card to the health services database

  2. Submit an exception or deferral request as outlined in the UC Policy through the Lab’s occupational health record system.


What happens if I miss the November 1, 2021 deadline?

The UC Policy has a Compliance Appendix that describes the process. You will be given two chances to quickly come into compliance, following which there is an established disciplinary track.


Does the policy apply to union-represented employees?

Yes.


When will this be in effect?

The policy at the Lab is effective November 1, 2021.


Who should I contact if I have questions about the policy?

Direct specific questions to covidinfo@lbl.gov.


Will the policy change if booster shots are required?

This is a permanent policy. Infectious disease experts anticipate that annual or more frequent boosters will be necessary, and receipt of boosters will be required, consistent with product labeling, in the same way that the initial vaccination is required by this policy and subject to the same exceptions and deferrals.


What Is the Lab policy that mandates people get vaccinated?

The Lab is managed and operated by the University of California. UC has adopted a COVID Vaccination Policy which applies to each one of its locations and facilities. The Lab does not have a vaccine policy separate from the UC policy.

EXCEPTION PROCESS

What are the exception options?

There are three approved exceptions: religious, medical, or disability, and a deferral for pregnant employees. If you want to apply for an exception or deferral, start at clinic.lbl.gov.


Is there an appeal process if my request for exception or deferral is denied?

The UC Vaccine Policy does not provide for an appeals process following denial.

Who reviews my request for exemption/exception or deferral?

UCOP has partnered with Sedgwick (our existing Workers Compensation/Risk Management Vendor) Claims Management to collect initial vaccination status and process documents (ie: exception requests or deferral requests) through an online tool. UC has worked with Sedgwick for more than 30 years and Sedgwick will provide this service in collaboration with the Office of the President Risk Services and with UCOP Human Resources. Information provided through this tool will be kept confidential and only accessed for program-related purposes.


​​I was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, and/or I had an antibody test that shows that I have natural immunity. Does this support a medical exemption?

You may be eligible for a temporary medical exemption (and, therefore, a temporary exception), for up to 90 days after your diagnosis. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, “a positive result from an antibody test does not mean you have a specific amount of immunity or protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection … Currently authorized SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests are not validated to evaluate specific immunity or protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection.” For this reason, individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had an antibody test are not permanently exempt from vaccination.


What is the discipline process?

For those who fail to comply with the required November 1, 2021 deadline, the enforcement process includes two written notices with an opportunity to comply, followed by the Lab’s progressive discipline processes and procedures set forth in the Requirements and Policy Manual for non-represented staff, and in the Collective Bargaining Agreement of represented employees.

Pregnancy is not listed as one of the options at clinic.lbl.gov. How do I request a pregnancy deferral?

If you want to apply for a deferral based on pregnancy status, start at clinic.lbl.gov.

Click on COVID Vaccine Declaration>click on I acknowledge>I have not been vaccinated. Select the unvaccinated reason (for pregnancy deferral, click Medical), then click yes or no for working on site. Click submit. You will be contacted to discuss the next step in the exception process.


If I file an exception by Nov. 1 am I in compliance?

Yes. However, if the exception is denied you will need to begin and complete the process of becoming fully vaccinated or you will no longer be in compliance.


My job requires me to come to a Lab site. If I file an exception request on Nov. 1, can I continue to come to a Lab site to work until I receive an answer to my exception request?

Yes, but you must follow Protocol B.


Will my supervisor know if I requested a deferral for pregnancy or have requested an exception for religious, disability, or medical reasons?

No, but your supervisor will know which protocol you are following.


What protocol do I follow while I am awaiting word on my exception or deferral request?

Follow Protocol B.


How long will it take to get a response to my exception or deferral request?

The review process will start immediately after you file an exception or deferral request.


I’m teleworking or a remote worker and do not plan to go onsite. Do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes, the requirement to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination (or to submit a request for an exception on medical, disability, or religious grounds, or for a deferral based on pregnancy) takes effect for all faculty, academic appointees, and staff as a condition of in-person access to UC locations or programs. Even if the employee’s job does not ordinarily require them to work on-site, they would still need to provide proof of full vaccination (or submit a request for exception or deferral) before physically accessing UC facilities, such as to attend mandatory staff meetings, or training in person.

Vaccination against the virus that causes COVID-19 is a critical step for protecting the health and safety of our communities and ending the pandemic.

COMPLIANCE

Will my badge access be blocked on Nov. 1 if I have not uploaded my vaccination card?

Badge access will not be immediately blocked on Nov. 1.


Will I lose my job if I am not vaccinated?

Covered individuals who fail to comply by being vaccinated or requesting an exception or deferral on or before the implementation date will not be permitted physical access to university facilities and programs and may experience consequences as a result of non-participation, up to and including dismissal from employment.


As a supervisor, how do I verify that my direct reports have been vaccinated or requested an exception or deferral?

Supervisors will be informed if their direct reports are in compliance with the policy or if further action needs to be taken.


As a supervisor, what should I do if a direct report tells me they refuse to declare their vaccination status?

The employee should be informed that refusal to declare vaccine status or the lack of an approved exception will mean that they are not in compliance with the policy. Noncompliance will lead to corrective action and progressive discipline.


How will notice of noncompliance be sent to a person?

Formal “Notice of Noncompliance” notifications will be sent to employees in writing.

AFFILIATES AND HOSTS

Who is responsible for making sure affiliates have uploaded their vaccination card?

Hosts are responsible for determining if the Affiliate completed the vaccine declaration and is following the proper COVID-19 safety protocol. The host is responsible for the activities and conduct associated with the successful accomplishment of an affiliate appointment visit. Hosts must provide oversight and ensure compliance with all requirements for site access approval.


As a host, how do I access a report on the Affiliate’s vaccine declaration?

The host may log into the Occupational Health Record (https://clinic.lbl.gov), go to LBNL Supervisor Access, click on

Supervisor Reports, and select the report called “COVID Vaccination Status Declaration.” This report will include a list of the Affiliates who have completed the Vaccine Declaration along with their COVID-19 Safety Protocol (A or B).


To look up an Affiliate who has not completed their COVID-19 Vaccine Declaration, log into the Occupational Health Record (https://clinic.lbl.gov, go to LBNL Supervisor Access, click on

Supervisor Reports, and select the report called “COVID Vaccination Status Declarations Past Due.” This report will include a list of the Affiliates who have not completed the Vaccine Declaration.


If your Affiliate does not appear on either report, please contact the covid help desk at covidinfo@lbl.gov.


Who is considered an affiliate?

Affiliates are individuals invited by an eligible Berkeley Lab host who will engage in Berkeley Lab activities involving research, the use of laboratory facilities, or the provision of a service to Berkeley Lab.

The affiliate designation is typically needed when an individual requires a badge for on-site access or Berkeley Lab business systems access. Please go to the Requirements and Policies Manual (RPM) for further information on Affiliates.

Will my host see my vaccination card or know my medical information?

No, the host only has access to the affiliate's vaccine declaration status (complete or not complete) and the COVID-19 safety protocol you must follow while on a Lab site.


Who in my host organization will have access to my vaccination card/know my medical information?

Only Health Services can see your vaccine card or other medical information.

OTHER QUESTIONS

What is the last date I can start the vaccination process in order to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1?

Moderna -- Tuesday, Sept. 21

Pfizer -- Tuesday, Sept. 28

J&J -- Monday, Oct. 18


If I can’t get my card uploaded electronically how can I get it into the system?

If you have trouble uploading your vaccination record, call the COVID information line at 510-486-5000 or contact them at covidinfo@lbl.gov.


Are vaccines from countries outside of the U.S. acceptable to meet the requirement?

Any vaccine listed on the W.H.O. list of approved vaccines will be accepted as proof of vaccination at the Lab. Make sure you are considered fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 based on the vaccine you received.


Do faculty scientists, postdocs, or students who have reported their vaccination status to their campus need to declare their vaccination status at the Lab?

Yes, even though they have declared their status at their campus, the Lab is responsible for having the vaccination declaration of all employees. The Lab does not have access to other campus systems to check your status.