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UAB pauses vaccine requirement in face of federal mandate

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama at Birmingham has ended a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health system employees as officials await details about a federal mandate for health care workers.

UAB Health in August announced that both employees and others working in its hospitals and clinics must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 12. It announced Friday that it was withdrawing the policy in the face of the coming federal mandate.

“Because UAB Health System must follow federal law, UAB Health System will remove its vaccine policy at this time. UAB Health System will wait for the detailed federal guidance to develop a replacement vaccine policy in order to ensure full compliance with federal law,” the university said in a statement.

President Joe Biden this month announced a sweeping new push for vaccinations. The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

A group opposed to the UAB mandate had sent the university a letter threatening a lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.

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