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Vaccine Booster

Northwestern currently does not require a booster dose to be compliant with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. More than 95% of the Northwestern community has reported receiving at least one booster shot, and we strongly recommend boosters for those who medically are able to obtain them. While boosters don’t necessarily prevent individuals from contracting COVID-19 or transmitting it to others, they are important individual tools for minimizing severe illness.

For now, individuals who are not boosted are not required to complete weekly onsite testing.

If future boosters provide different benefits than we know today, Northwestern may reinstate its booster requirement. Students, faculty and staff are still encouraged to report additional booster shots as they receive them using Northwestern’s COVID-19 Vaccination Form.


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. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend boosters at least five months after completion of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccination, and at least two months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccination.


COVID-19 Booster Availability

  • Available at most pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS and Jewel-Osco
  • Available through Northwestern Medicine. Patients can make an appointment via MyChart

FAQs

Updated June 16, 2022

Does Northwestern require booster shots?

Northwestern does not currently require a booster dose to be compliant with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. For now, individuals who are not boosted are not required to complete weekly onsite testing.

If future boosters provide different benefits than we know today, Northwestern may reinstate its booster requirement. Students, faculty and staff are still encouraged to report additional booster shots as they receive them using Northwestern’s COVID-19 Vaccination Form.

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

Students, faculty and staff can still attest to their booster and upload documentation online using Northwestern’s COVID-19 Vaccination Form.

Does Northwestern offer boosters directly to faculty, staff and students?

Northwestern does not currently offer booster shot clinics. Booster appointments are available through Northwestern Medicine. Please reference the NM COVID-19 Resource Center for availability.

Who can receive a booster shot?

Per guidance from the CDC, everyone ages 12+ can get a booster shot. If you received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you can receive a booster at least 5 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series. If you received Johnson & Johnson, you can receive a booster at least 2 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination. If you received a non-FDA approved vaccine, see the question below about receiving a booster if you were vaccinated outside of the U.S.

What booster shot am I able to receive?

Per guidance from the CDC, if you are 12 years and older, you may receive a Pfizer booster shot. If you are 18 years or older, you may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive as a booster shot. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix-and-match dosing for booster shots.

I was vaccinated outside of the U.S. When can I receive my booster?

Per guidance from the CDC, if you completed a Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine primary series outside of the United States you should follow the guidance above for booster shots.

Otherwise, if you were vaccinated abroad with other COVID-19 vaccines you can get a booster shot if you are 12 years or older and you either:

  • Received all the recommended doses of a World Health Organization emergency use listing (WHO-EUL) COVID-19 vaccine, not approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Or completed a mix and match series composed of any combination of FDA-approved, FDA-authorized, or WHO-EUL COVID-19 vaccines

If you meet the above requirements, you can get a single booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least 5 months after getting all recommended doses or completing a mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccine series.

Can I schedule a booster appointment online if I have a WHO-approved vaccine?

Even though, per CDC guidance, those who received a non-FDA but WHO-approved vaccine are eligible to receive a Pfizer booster at least five months after their second dose, major pharmacies will not allow appointments to be scheduled online at this time.

  • For CVS, you will need to follow the steps to make an appointment online, select Not Listed/Other for their vaccine and then call the provided number to make an appointment through the pharmacy.
  • For Walgreens, call 1-800-Walgreens (1-800-925-4733) to make a booster appointment.
  • For Jewel Osco, booster appointments can be made through their online chat. (https://www.jewelosco.com/mobile-chat.html)

Community members can also locate pop-up vaccine sites at https://myshotcookcounty.com/.

Where can NU community members go to receive a booster?

Community members can receive their booster at a local pharmacy (CVS/Walgreens/Osco/etc.). They should bring identification and proof of their previous dose(s) and vaccine manufacturer(s) to their appointment. Insurance is not required to receive a booster vaccine.

Appointments can also be made on https://www.vaccines.gov/:

  • Step 1: Visit vaccines.gov to find an available booster.  
  • Step 2: Enter your ZIP code to find the nearest pharmacy. Then, select your desired vaccine. 
  • Step 3: Select your desired pharmacy. 
  • Step 4: Assure that the selected pharmacy has your vaccine available. Then, select “Book appointment” to enter the pharmacy’s website.
  • Step 5: Follow the prompts on the website and fill out your information to book your vaccination appointment. 

Northwestern does not currently offer booster shot clinics.

Can I get a booster dose if I have already been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Yes. However, the CDC recommends that people who have COVID-19 should wait to receive any vaccine, including a COVID-19 booster, until after they recover and complete their isolation period.

How do I request an exception to the booster requirement?

Northwestern does not currently require a booster dose to be compliant with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Therefore, community members who do not wish to obtain a booster shot should not submit an exception request.

What is the protocol for unboosted students, faculty and staff on campus?

At this time, individuals who are not boosted are not subject to heightened COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including weekly onsite testing.