Vaccinations against COVID-19 will now be required among all employees at Kansas State University.

University officials made the announcement Friday. All KSU employees must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, the university said. In making the announcement, university officials said they were doing so in order to comply with a requirement issued by President Joe Biden last month mandating federal employees and contractors to get vaccinated. Officials said the directive applies to Kansas research universities and employees, regardless of whether they work on federal contracts.

The vaccination requirement applies to all K-State faculty and staff even if they’re fully remote workers, as well as graduate and undergraduate student employees.

The requirement doesn’t apply to Alumni Association, KSU Foundation, Student Union and most athletics employees. It also does not apply to students who are not employed by the university. The new mandate also does not apply to members of KSU Student Governing Association.

People can get religious or medical exemption from the mandate, but officials said in a statement Friday that getting vaccinated is “a condition of employment.” There is no option for testing out of the requirement; the university used guidance from a federal workforce task force to set that standard.

People must provide proof of full vaccination by Dec. 8. Officials said if a person refuses to get vaccinated — and does not wish to comply with the federal rule — that employee may be subject to termination. University administrators said they would take a “nuanced approach” with individuals who state their opposition to getting inoculated.

K-State Provost Charles Taber made the initial announcement about the vaccine requirement during a virtual town hall meeting for staff. The Kansas Board of Regents issued a statement indicating this order also applies to the University of Kansas and Wichita State University.

Jeff Morris, K-State vice president of communications and marketing, told The Mercury that university officials had been discussing the federal order with Kansas Board of Regents attorneys since Biden issued it in September. He said word officially came that K-State, KU and Wichita State would be impacted by the federal order earlier this week.

Vaccines are available at Lafene Health Center by appointment. The health center is offering both the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the double-dose Moderna shot. People can submit their proof of vaccination through the online Lafene patient portal.

The university provided a timeline for when employees should get vaccinated to meet the Dec. 8 deadline. Officials said employees should get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine by Wednesday and the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Nov. 3. They said employees should receive the second dose of the Moderna and Pifzer vaccines or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine by Nov. 24. Officials said they are confident that people can get vaccinated by the deadline.

University spokeswoman Michelle Geering said the estimated faculty and staff vaccination rate is at 70% and is all self-reported. Geering said this mandate will impact “anyone that gets a check” from K-State, which is 9,206 people. If the 70% rate is accurate, 6,444 employees are currently vaccinated.

Faculty Senate President and Libraries professor Laurel Littrell said since the topic came up quickly, Faculty Senate members have not yet had time to discuss the new vaccine requirement. In an email to The Mercury, she said she “would guess there are many varying opinions amongst our membership,” which includes representatives of student government and the University Support Staff Senate. She said the next Faculty Senate meeting is Nov. 9.

Senior kinesiology major Andrea Anderson is a residence assistant at the Jardine Apartments on campus. She said she got vaccinated already because she is immunocompromised, and that she thinks getting inoculated is “probably a responsible thing to do.”

“Because we do come into contact with a lot of people on campus, I think it’s a responsible thing to do,” Anderson said, “but many people might not feel the same way just because they want to decide what they do with their own body.”

The vaccine mandate represents a change from the university’s previous position, which had been forced by state law.

K-State President Richard Myers said during his State of the University address last month a week after Biden’s announcement that “in a perfect world” he would mandate vaccines, but “Kansas law passed in this last session prohibits that for us.”

When passing the state budget in May, legislators included a provision that prohibited a “vaccine passport” being required to enter a state government building or receive services.

Two of Manhattan’s state legislators supported K-State on the issue Friday after further interpretation of the federal mandate superseded the state’s position.

State Rep. Mike Dodson, R-Manhattan, said he knows “these decisions are not taken easily.”

“I support those institutions and what they have to do to best suit their needs to protect their professors, their administrators, and the people that work and the students,” he said.

Despite being in favor of vaccinations, state Rep. Sydney Carlin, D-Manhattan, said she had mixed feelings about the mandate.

“I am mixed about it some ways because I do know that there are people who have had allergic reactions in the past.” Carlin said. “However, according to my physician and others I’ve talked with over the last year and a half, unless you’ve had an anaphylactic reaction, not just a little rash or a runny nose, I mean where you can’t breathe … you should get the vaccine.”

Carlin said K-State students and professors have followed the rules with mask mandates and have kept COVID numbers low. “I know that the medical community believes that masks work, and we know that the vaccine works,” she said.

Mercury reporter Christian Bright contributed to this article.