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COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Northwestern announced on May 12 that it requires COVID-19 vaccination for all students (including exchange and visiting students) in on-campus programs for the 2021-22 academic year. Students must have their vaccination or exception on record in order to register for classes.

Additionally, Northwestern announced on June 24 that it requires COVID-19 vaccination for all faculty and staff. Subject to limited exceptions, faculty and staff who work on campus are expected to attest to their vaccination status.

Students, faculty and staff members vaccinated through a Northwestern vaccination event already have their record on file and do not need to submit a disclosure form.

Questions? See General Vaccine FAQs, Student Vaccination Requirement FAQs, Faculty/Staff Vaccination Requirement FAQs, or email vaccine@northwestern.edu.

Report Vaccination or Request Exception

Students

All students are required to fill out the COVID-19 Vaccination Form to report their vaccination or request an exception. If a student also works at NU, they should complete the student form.

Students who are partially vaccinated or have not had access to an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine must submit a request for a temporary exception immediately. This will allow you to remain compliant over the next month while you complete your full vaccination series.

Student Vaccination Disclosure

Exceptions 

Students can request an exception to the vaccination requirement due to health conditions, sincerely held religious beliefs or access issues. These exceptions should be submitted through the COVID-19 Vaccination Form.

Students requesting an exception are required to provide supporting documentation outlining why their personal health, religious beliefs or circumstances prevent them from obtaining a vaccine. For exception requests related to health conditions, this documentation will require a note from a licensed medical provider and no additional documentation is required. For exception requests not related to health conditions, students are required to upload a personal statement. Students receiving a vaccination exception will be required to participate in increased levels of COVID-19 testing, masking and quarantine/isolation procedures.

Please note, students may request a temporary exception if they have recently tested positive for COVID-19 or undergone antibody therapy in the last 90 days. Due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Aug. 23 approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine, Northwestern will no longer provide temporary exception requests to the vaccination requirement related to the Emergency Use Authorization. Consequently, the temporary exception that some students were granted from the Northwestern COVID-19 vaccination requirement will expire on Oct. 4, 2021. We encourage these students to take immediate action to complete their full vaccination series by Oct. 4. If you wish to request for a permanent exception, please do so by Monday, Sept. 20. Submitting by this date will give Northwestern time to consider your request before rendering a decision.

Reporting Deadline

Students not able to meet the requirement prior to arriving at Northwestern (such as international students) will need to apply for an exception in order to register for classes. Students who have not submitted proof of full vaccination or been approved for an exception by Aug. 26 will not be able to register for classes, move into campus housing, have access to meal plans, or have access to campus buildings. They will also not be able to come to campus or participate in any activities (including student organizations) or events intended for enrolled students.

Faculty and Staff

Subject to limited exceptions, faculty and staff who work on campus are expected to be fully vaccinated and attest to their vaccination status.

Faculty and staff who require assistance with scheduling a vaccine appointment should contact vaccine@northwestern.edu for support. 

Faculty and Staff VACCINATION DISCLOSURE

Exceptions 

Any faculty or staff member who seeks an exception to the University’s vaccination requirement due to a personal health condition, a sincerely held religious belief or a lack of access to an FDA/WHO-authorized vaccine must submit a formal request by Sept. 7, 2021. Due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Aug. 23 approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine, Northwestern will not provide temporary exceptions to the vaccination requirement related to the Emergency Use Authorization. If you have been waiting for the FDA’s full approval of a vaccine, please get your first shot by Sept. 7, 2021 and submit your exception request to become compliant with the vaccination requirement. This will provide you with a temporary exception over the next month while you complete your full vaccination series. Alternatively, you can obtain the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and submit proof of full vaccination by Sept. 7, 2021 to become compliant. If you are fully vaccinated, attest to your vaccination status now. If you have questions about completing the attestation or exception process, email vaccine@northwestern.edu.

Unvaccinated staff or faculty who work on campus are required to:

  • Complete twice-weekly COVID-19 testing on campus (Based on recommendations from Northwestern’s medical experts, these tests must be completed within three days of each other. If the number of days between tests is greater than three, the Symptom Tracker application will display in yellow as a reminder to complete a new test in order to return to green status.)
  • Complete the daily Symptom Tracker application on those days when they are on campus
  • Wear a mask in all shared indoor settings

Any staff member who is unvaccinated without an approved exception, or who receives an exception but does not comply with the COVID-19 safety protocols outlined above, will be quickly escalated internally within their school or unit leadership and Human Resources for appropriate action. If a staff member remains non-compliant with these requirements, they will be transitioned to an unpaid leave of absence and, ultimately, terminated in alignment with the Staff Handbook.

For all faculty, continued non-compliance will lead to disciplinary actions, up to and including temporary suspension and termination of employment. The sanctioning process will follow the steps outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

Faculty and staff who are not vaccinated do not qualify automatically for remote work under the policy on Alternative Work Strategies.

Faculty and staff vaccine appointments

Faculty and staff are encouraged to take advantage of the free walk-up appointments offered by pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS and Jewel-Osco.

If a faculty or staff member is a patient of Northwestern Medicine, NM is offering free COVID-19 appointments.

If you still need assistance making a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, contact the vaccine support team by emailing vaccine@northwestern.edu.

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness

Webinar on Vaccine Safety

Watch Feinberg School of Medicine's Dean Eric G. Neilson, MD, and Robert Murphy, MD, discuss the COVID-19 vaccine and respond to vaccine-related questions. 

Panel on Vaccine Concerns

Watch a faculty panel of Feinberg School of Medicine faculty address questions and concerns related to the vaccine. 

Research on Vaccines after COVID-19

We also encourage members of the community to review this recent research publication by Northwestern experts, which highlights the importance of receiving a vaccine even if you have already had COVID-19, given the limited length of natural antibody prevention.