UW System to follow vaccine order for federal contractors

October 27, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin System said Wednesday that it will comply with an executive order issued by President Joe Biden that requires federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Biden’s order has convinced colleges across the country to institute vaccine requirements, even in some conservative states where governors and legislators oppose mandates. The order covers not only people directly paid by federal contracts, but also anyone who works to support them, such as those in human resources, billing and legal departments, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

“We cannot afford to jeopardize millions of dollars in federal contracts, which are integral to our academic and research missions,” interim System President Tommy Thompson said in announcing the move. “Therefore, we intend to be in compliance with the federal executive order on vaccine mandates.”

It is not clear whether the UW System has interpreted the broadly-written order to be a campus-wide employee mandate and whether it would apply to all campuses.

Wisconsin’s two research universities show a large share of employees are already vaccinated, with 95% having received the shot at UW-Madison and 81% at UW-Milwaukee, according to their COVID-19 dashboards.