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Vaccine Booster

Northwestern is monitoring developments on the national, state and local levels as the manufacturers of vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization work with public health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research and seek regulatory approval for their products to be approved as booster vaccinations. The University does not currently require booster shots.

The University recommends that faculty and staff consult with their primary care physician to discuss if and when a COVID-19 booster vaccination is appropriate. Each individual’s circumstances help determine when it is recommended that they receive a booster vaccine. Students who receive care from NU Health Service (NUHS) can consult a physician regarding their COVID-19 booster options. Students who are not eligible for medical care from NUHS should consult their primary care physician.

When COVID-19 vaccines were distributed to the general public, Northwestern partnered with local health authorities to distribute vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The NU Vaccine Clinic Program provided a small volume of Pfizer BioNTech first and second doses, but the University does not have the storage infrastructure to support a long-term Pfizer BioNTech clinic program. Instead, Northwestern partnered with Northwestern Medicine and the City of Evanston’s Public Health team to help provide University community members with a Pfizer vaccine option.

Current COVID-19 Booster Eligibility 

Boosters are available to individuals who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine or a Pfizer or Moderna series of COVID-19 vaccines and meet one of the following criteria, per the CDC:

  • Age 65 and older
  • Age 18 and older with certain underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18 and older living or working in settings deemed as high-risk by the CDC (including teachers, food workers and transit workers)

Read more about the timing and selection of boosters and other details on the FDA website.

COVID-19 Booster Availability

  • Available at most pharmacies and medical providers
  • Available through Northwestern Medicine
    • Patients can make an appointment via MyChart
  • Fill out the City of Evanston survey to receive a booster via a city clinic 

NUHS supports qualifying students in identifying a location to receive a booster vaccine. 


Does Northwestern require booster shots?

Northwestern does not currently require faculty, staff or students to get a booster shot. The University will continue to follow the guidance of public authorities and information provided by vaccine manufacturers to determine if a booster dose will be required to be considered fully vaccinated.

Do you encourage booster shots if I am eligible for one?

Northwestern strongly encourages eligible community members to ask their primary health care provider whether a booster shot is appropriate for them.

Does Northwestern offer boosters directly to faculty and staff?

Currently, the eligibility of boosters is driven by individual factors such as age and health. Faculty and staff who are eligible for a booster vaccine should consult with their medical providers and plan to receive a booster dose from their medical provider or local pharmacy. Northwestern has no current plans to offer booster shots to faculty and staff.

Does Northwestern offer boosters directly to students?

Students who may be eligible for boosters based on heightened risk factors identified by public health authorities should contact NUHS to discuss their options. NUHS supports qualifying students in identifying a location to receive a booster vaccine.

How do I report my booster shot to Northwestern if I get one?

The University plans to release a method to capture this information in the near future. More information will be forthcoming.