Immunization Requirements Frequently Asked Questions
In order to help address some of the questions and concerns that most students have in regards to fulfilling immunization requirements, we have compiled answers to frequently asked questions. Click on a question below to view the answer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who must fulfill the immunization requirements?
The immunization requirements for Northwestern include submission of a completed Student Immunization Form. The Student Immunization Form you will complete depends on whether you are entering a graduate or professional-level healthcare field (i.e. Medical School, Communication Sciences & Disorders, etc.) or not. Submission of healthcare professional (e.g. physician, nurse, etc.) documentation of both State and university-required immunizations. PART II of the Student Immunization Form lists the required vaccinations and also provides a place for your healthcare professional to record dates of vaccinations. This must be signed by a licensed healthcare professional in order to be accepted.
All of the above must be submitted to the Evanston Campus Health Service.
What constitutes full-time and half-time status?
- Students taking 3 or more classes in a given quarter/semester are considered full-time.
- Students taking 2 classes in a given quarter/semester are considered half-time.
Are there immunization requirements for entrance into Northwestern?
Yes, the State of Illinois and Northwestern require all full and half-time students to provide healthcare professional (e.g. physician, nurse, etc.) documentation of measles, mumps, rubella, and tetanus/diphtheria. Documentation of meningococcal conjugate is also required for students 21 years or younger. Northwestern also requires that all students not entering a graduate or professional-level healthcare training program to complete a self-screening for tuberculosis (included in the Student Immunization Form) to determine if there was ever a chance for exposure.
Students in health care programs must also provide proof of immunity to Hepatitis B and Varicella, in addition to completing testing for Tuberculosis.
The specific immunizations required and documentation accepted to meet each requirement varies based on your program of study. Please refer to page 2 of the Student Immunization Form for your program of study to see a detailed list of the required immunizations, as well as the specific documentation we accept to meet each requirement. All versions of the Student Immunization Forms are located in the Immunization Requirements section of this website.
Details regarding immunizations and the specific criterion for each immunization may be found on the Immunization Requirements page.
Why do I need to fulfill the immunization requirements to attend Northwestern?
The State of Illinois mandates that all students enrolled full or half-time at a post-secondary educational institution shall present to the designated Recordkeeping office (i.e. Evanston Campus Health Service) proof of immunity to certain diseases/illnesses. The reason for this is two-fold:
- to ensure that all students have proper immunity to avoid the spread of disease/illness throughout the campus community, and
- to ensure that students are protected in case of any outbreak on campus.
Furthermore, Northwestern requires that any student entering a graduate or professional-level healthcare training program (e.g. Medical School, Genetic Counseling, etc.) to adhere to additional immunization requirements due to close contact with patients.
I am a previous Northwestern student returning to start a new academic program (e.g. undergraduate to graduate). I fulfilled these requirements already. Do I have to complete them again?
Previous Northwestern students returning to start a new half-time or full-time academic program must complete and submit a Student Immunization Form for the new program of study. If a previous immunization record is on file, it will be applied to the new program of study and you will be informed of any deficiencies via email. If a vaccination, TB test or laboratory report is needed, you will be expected to complete it by the appropriate deadline to avoid any penalties.
Where can I have any necessary vaccination performed?
- Your primary healthcare professional (e.g. physician, nurse, etc.).
- Local public health office.
- Various retail pharmacies sometimes provide vaccination clinics.
If needed, the Northwestern University Health Service can administer vaccinations after you are registered and considered eligible to use the clinic; however, you are urged to have any necessary vaccinations completed and submit documentation prior to your arrival on campus. Appointments are limited, and you will incur the penalties for not fulfilling health requirements if the only appointment available happens to be 30 days after the start of classes.
What is the deadline for completion of the immunization requirements?
Deadlines are explained in detail on the Requirement Deadlines page.
Where do I submit my completed forms?
All forms must be submitted to the Evanston Campus Health Service at:
Northwestern University Health Service
Health Information Management Services
633 Emerson Street
Evanston, Illinois 60208
Please refer to page one of the Student Immunization Form for instructions on how to submit the form to the Health Information Management Services department.
In response to COVID-19 and the efforts to minimize exposure, the Health Information Management Services department is limiting face-to-face contact. Please email any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I submit my forms by fax?
How will I know if my forms are received by the Health Service and if there are any deficiencies?
Upon processing your form, we will automatically send an email to your "@northwestern.edu" account (or to the address you provide in the event that you have not activated your "@northwestern" account), both to confirm receipt of your form, and to inform you of any deficiencies. We do not send information to anyone other than the student regarding these deficiencies, including parents. If you receive the email and you would like to forward it to your parents or other individual so they may assist you in retrieval of certain documents, you may. Make sure to adjust your SPAM filters to allow email sent from “@northwestern.edu” so that you receive this email. We keep track of “returned” emails, otherwise we will assume it was received.
If you object to having this information sent via email, you do have the option of submitting a self-addressed stamped envelope with your form to have a letter sent to you instead. If we do not receive the envelope, you will receive an email.
I have not received confirmation that my form was processed by the Health Service. Should I call?
Forms are processed according to date of receipt. Depending on the mail and how many forms we have to process, it could take up to 8 weeks for you to hear from us. If you do not hear from us within this timeframe, you are welcome to email email@example.com or call us at 847.491.2117 or 847.491.2203 to find out if we received it or not.
Will I be penalized for not fulfilling the immunization requirements by the deadline?
Yes, there are penalties for non-compliance with the immunization requirements. It is very important that the Student Immunization Form and required immunizations be submitted by the applicable deadline (listed on the Requirement Deadlines page). This allows Health Service staff ample time to process your form and immunization documents and notify you of any deficiencies. Furthermore, it provides you with the time to rectify any deficiencies prior to arriving on campus.
Students who fail to submit the Student Immunization Form and required immunizations or fail to rectify ALL deficiencies by the 30 days after the start of classes will be barred from future class registration (including adding or changing classes) until compliant AND assessed a non-refundable $100 late fee. PENALTIES ARE NEVER ASSESSED PRIOR TO THE START OF CLASSES.
If my immunization requirements are not fulfilled, will I be able to sign up for student insurance?
If my healthcare professional no longer has my immunization records, how can I prove immunity?
Another method of proving immunity is by titer (e.g. blood test, serology). Lab reports from “positive” titers are accepted as proof of immunity for measles, mumps, and rubella.
If you are entering a graduate or professional-level healthcare training program (e.g. Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Communication Sciences & Disorders, and Genetic Counseling), a titer is acceptable as proof of immunity to varicella (chicken pox). Students in this category are required to submit a lab report confirming immunity to Hepatitis B.
For medical students, some vaccination dates are optional. A lab report is required to confirm immunity to Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B and Varicella.
I am an international student coming to campus from another country and was informed that I need a TB test. Where can that be performed?
The Evanston Campus Health Service only administers the Quantiferon TB Gold blood test. Depending on when you register for classes, your eligibility to use the Health Service may vary. When you call to schedule an appointment, you will be informed whether or not you are eligible.
You are also encouraged to locate an outside health care professional in the area that performs these tests. If you have this done through an outside provider, please have them complete and sign our PPD Recording Form. You will then need to submit this form to the Evanston Campus Health Service.
If I have a required immunization or test performed at the Chicago Health Service, do I need to submit documentation to the Evanston Health Service, or is it updated automatically?
I would like to read the actual State laws and rules governing immunizations.
Where can I find information about student health insurance?
I still have questions concerning health requirements. Who can I contact?