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Vaccine Update for Faculty and Staff

Dear faculty and staff,

We are writing to share new information with you about our vaccination approach on campus.

Today, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced a new program, College Vaccination Days, to encourage public and private university students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, which will be provided at mass vaccination sites. The program begins this weekend, and students are free to choose whether to participate.

Northwestern University has created a webpage to provide the community with updates from the state as we receive them. State vaccination sites will be added in the coming days. Please visit Health section of the COVID-19 and Campus Updates website for updates.

Additionally, starting next week, Northwestern’s vaccine clinics will begin shifting vaccination invites to students, who became eligible for vaccinations in Illinois on April 12. We will invite students living in on-campus housing first and then invite students registered for in-person classes. We will then invite undergraduate and graduate students based on their engagement level on campus, prioritizing those who have been the most actively engaged.

We continue to invite faculty and staff to on-site vaccination events. We are encouraged that most faculty and staff have indicated that they have already been vaccinated elsewhere.

If you are a faculty or staff member who still needs a first vaccine dose, please complete this sign-up form, and you will be invited to a future event. We will not send you additional invites unless you complete the form.

Disclose Your Vaccination Status

As a reminder, any faculty or staff member who becomes vaccinated is strongly encouraged to disclose your vaccination status. Disclosure is voluntary, but it is helpful to our planning efforts. By disclosing your vaccination status, you are helping us: 

  • Advocate to public health officials for vaccine supply targeted to those who still need it
  • Understand the percentage of the community that has been vaccinated
  • Be prepared to respond to changing public health guidelines associated with vaccination status
  • Appropriately and quickly navigate your personal health situation if you are identified during contact tracing efforts
  • Plan for testing and other public health strategies for the summer and fall 

Respect for and Expectation of Privacy 

While it is exciting news that the COVID vaccine is rolling out at a higher rate and most of our faculty and staff are more easily being vaccinated, it is important to note that an individual’s vaccination status is considered part of their confidential health information. Vaccine eligibility is not universal everywhere, and whether someone chooses to get vaccinated can be tied to other factors such as personal medical conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs. For the foregoing reasons, it is not appropriate for faculty or staff to ask about an individual’s vaccination status or discuss such information with colleagues and students. It is confidential health information, and it could unintentionally make them feel pressured to disclose other confidential information about themselves.

It is possible, if not likely, that individuals will voluntarily disclose their vaccination status to you through routine conversation. Should you learn of someone’s vaccination status, you should treat it like any other confidential matter and not discuss it with others without their permission.

Thank you for your continued efforts to foster a healthy Northwestern community.


Luke Figora
Vice President for Operations