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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 credit-bearing, 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.

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 before arriving on campus must submit a request for a temporary exception immediately in order to remain compliant for the month necessary to complete the full vaccination series.

Student Vaccination Disclosure

Exceptions 

Students can request a permanent exception to the vaccination requirement due to health conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs, and a temporary exception due to fully remote status or access issues. Submit these exception requests through the COVID-19 Vaccination Form.

Students requesting an exception must provide supporting documentation outlining why their personal health, religious beliefs or circumstances prevent them from obtaining a vaccine. In order to submit an exception request due to fully remote status, a student must be off campus with no planned visits to campus or interactions with individuals who visit campus during the term. Exception requests related to health conditions require a note from a licensed medical provider. For exception requests not related to health conditions, students must upload a personal statement. Students whose vaccination exception is granted must participate in increased levels of COVID-19 testing, masking and quarantine/isolation procedures.

Please note, students can register for classes only if they have submitted their vaccination attestation with an attachment or been approved for an exception. If you wish to request for a permanent exception, please do so immediately. Your registrar will notify you of deadlines associated with each term. Submitting in a timely manner will give Northwestern time to consider your request before rendering a decision and gives you the best chance to register for classes with your cohort.

Reporting Deadline for Winter Quarter/Spring Semester

Students returning to Northwestern and those not able to meet the requirement prior to arriving (such as international students without access to an approved vaccine) must apply for an exception in order to register for classes. Those who have not submitted proof of full vaccination or been approved for an exception by Monday, Nov. 29 will not be able to register for classes, move into campus housing, have access to meal plans, or have access to campus buildings for the upcoming term. They also will not be able to come to campus or participate in any activities (including student organizations) or events intended for enrolled students. 

Students new to Northwestern after Nov. 29 must comply before registering for class. For new students, the final deadline for compliance is the deadline to add classes for the Winter Quarter/Spring Semester. Those who have not met the vaccination requirement by that time may not enroll or otherwise participate in Winter Quarter/Spring Semester.

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 VACCINATION DISCLOSURE

Exceptions 

Any new 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, an approved fully remote status or a lack of access to an FDA/WHO-authorized vaccine must submit a formal request before the beginning of the first month following their start date (e.g., if the start date of employment is Oct. 15, a vaccination exception request must be requested before Nov. 1). 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 (including during office hours)

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 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.

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.