Duke University made vaccination against COVID-19 a condition of employment in an update to the university's vaccine requirements.

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Duke University is requiring its faculty and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19, warning employees they will be fired if they refuse to do so. 

The North Carolina university announced Sunday that all employees must receive and provide documentation of their completed COVID-19 vaccination by Oct. 1. Currently, over 91% of the university's 22,136 employees are vaccinated.

Duke said that those not in compliance with the new mandate by Oct. 1 will be given a final written warning and placed on administrative leave, during which they'll be given seven days to receive either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or the first dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.  

If an employee refuses to receive either the one-dose shot or the first shot of Pfizer or Moderna by the end of the given time frame, they will be terminated and will not be eligible for re-hire at the university. 

Duke University Campus
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"Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious illness related to COVID-19, and it is only way we will bring an end to this pandemic," Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth and Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration wrote in a joint statement.

They added, "We are grateful to the thousands in our community who have already taken this step, and we want to take [sic] make every effort to support those who have not yet gotten vaccinated."

Duke employees will still be allowed to apply for medical or religious exemption to the vaccine, but those approved for exemption will undergo "daily symptom monitoring, weekly surveillance testing," and "continued masking." 

The university previously required faculty and staff to show proof of vaccination by Sept. 1, but the new guidelines now make vaccination a condition of employment. 

Duke also requires its students to be vaccinated for the fall semester. The university said 95% of its students were vaccinated as of Thursday, according to The News & Observer, and most recently reported 111 active COVID-19 cases on campus. 

With the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, more universities, companies and businesses are requiring vaccination. Last week, the Louisiana state university system launched plans to begin mandating the COVID-19 vaccine across campuses, and the University of Virginia previously unenrolled over 100 students who violated the school's vaccine policy.  

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Vaccine
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According to the CDC, about 61% of the total U.S. population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As the U.S. continues to see a spike in cases due to the Delta variant, Americans are being encouraged to receive a booster shot eight months after getting fully vaccinated. 

The booster shots, which are being recommended for individuals who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, will start being administered Sept. 20, with nursing home residents, health care workers and emergency workers first in line. Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are expected to need an additional shot, as well. 

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