Vaccination Requirement FAQs
Updated Jan. 3, 2023
Common questions about Northwestern's COVID-19 vaccination requirement are listed below.
Does Northwestern require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
All students (including exchange and visiting students) in credit-bearing, on-campus programs are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to limited exceptions (e.g., documented, approved personal health and religious reasons).
Which vaccines are approved to meet Northwestern’s requirement?
Any COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the FDA or the WHO satisfies Northwestern’s vaccine requirement. If you have questions regarding if a specific vaccine meets the requirement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are students who live or take classes in a state that doesn’t allow for vaccine requirements required to get the vaccine?
Students who take classes exclusively in a state that prohibits or significantly restricts vaccine requirements and/or prohibits educational institutions from asking for proof of COVID-19 vaccination are not required to be vaccinated. Students in this situation should seek an exception. Northwestern still strongly encourages vaccination, and there may be other requirements to access campus.
Kellogg EMBA Miami students should contact email@example.com for additional guidance.
Are students enrolled in online-only programs required to be vaccinated?
Students enrolled in online-only programs and not accessing campus for any reason are exempted from the vaccination requirement. Applicable programs will communicate to their students that they are exempt from this requirement. If you have questions on if this requirement applies to you, ask your program administrator.
If you are receiving reminder emails to comply with the vaccination requirement, that means that you have not been identified as a remote student. In this case, please submit an exception request using the COVID-19 Vaccination Form with an attached personal statement detailing your fully remote status.
Are students in mostly online programs required to be vaccinated?
Yes, students who are in programs that meet predominately online but include mandatory on-campus sessions, however few, are required to be vaccinated.
What do I do if I lost my vaccination card documenting that I received the vaccine?
Individuals vaccinated in Illinois may obtain their COVID-19 vaccination records through the IDPH portal and upload their vaccination documentation in the COVID-19 Vaccination Form. Those vaccinated outside Illinois should reach out to their medical provider for their vaccination records.
If you are unable to use the IDPH portal or access your vaccination records through your medical provider, please provide a personal statement in place of your vaccination card documentation in the COVID-19 Vaccination Form stating that you lost your vaccine card with the dates that you were vaccinated, the manufacturer of your vaccine and the location where you were vaccinated.
What are the health conditions approved to seek an exception?
The CDC has provided information on contraindications related to COVID-19 vaccines. Your personal health care provider should help determine whether you have a health condition preventing you from getting vaccinated.
Do I still need to be vaccinated if I have already been diagnosed with COVID-19?
Yes, all students are required to be vaccinated, even if they have already had COVID-19.
What if I received a vaccine not approved by the FDA or WHO?
The CDC has stated: “People who completed or partially completed a COVID-19 vaccine series with a vaccine that is not authorized by FDA or not authorized for emergency use by WHO may be offered an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series.” If you have concerns about receiving an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine after previously receiving a non-approved vaccine, you should consult with your health care provider and, if needed, you will be able to submit an exception request health condition-related with a note from a licensed health care provider.
Should international students who have received non-FDA or WHO-approved vaccine disclose that information?
International students may disclose this but will still need to submit another record with a vaccine that meets the Northwestern requirement.
Do vaccination records that are in a language other than English satisfy documentation requirements?
If possible, Northwestern requests the documentation be uploaded in English. If that is not possible, it may take additional time to validate documentation.
I submitted my COVID-19 vaccine record to Northwestern Medicine Student Health Service with my new student Immunization Requirement forms. Does this meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirement?
No. New students must report their COVID-19 vaccination through the COVID-19 Vaccination Form to complete the vaccination requirement.
Do I need to submit the Vaccination Form if I was vaccinated through Northwestern Medicine?
Yes, if you are a student vaccinated through Northwestern Medicine, you will need to report your vaccination so the University has your records on file.
Should I report my booster shot to Northwestern?
Northwestern has phased out its requirement for booster shots, though we strongly recommend boosters for those who are medically able to obtain them. Students are encouraged to attest to their booster and upload documentation online using the COVID-19 Vaccination Form.
Am I still considered “fully vaccinated” if I don’t get a booster?
According to the CDC, you are fully vaccinated even if you haven’t gotten your booster yet. The definition of fully vaccinated does not include a COVID-19 booster. Fully vaccinated, however, is not the same as having the best protection. People are best protected when they stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, which includes getting a booster when eligible.
Faculty and Staff Questions
Does Northwestern require faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
On Dec. 1, 2022, Northwestern announced its plan to phase out the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for employees.
While Northwestern does not currently require a primary vaccination series for faculty and staff, in accordance with CDC guidance, we strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccinations for those who are medically able to obtain them, as they are important tools for minimizing severe illness.
In light of the changes outlined above, employees no longer are required to obtain and report a primary COVID-19 vaccination series or obtain approval for an exception. Northwestern reserves the right to reinstate its vaccination requirement in the future if it deems necessary. If this should occur, employees will be provided additional information and instructions on how to comply or seek an exception.