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COVID-19 vaccination required for students in fall 2021 

May. 17, 2021, 10:00 AM

Vanderbilt University today announced it will require new and returning students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021–22 academic school year. The requirement applies to all undergraduate,  graduate  and professional students this fall, and it will be handled in a manner consistent with other university policies governing student vaccine requirements. Accommodations for medical exemptions can be requested through the Student Access office and religious exemptions can be requested through the Equal Opportunity and Access office.

“Our plans for a robust fall semester give us hope for a future past COVID-19, but we can only achieve our goals through continued diligence and recognition of important safety precautions like getting vaccinated,” said Eric  Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration. “Our Vanderbilt community has made great progress this spring, and we know increased vaccine adoption will help us maintain that momentum.”

COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be  safe and effective  at preventing infection by the virus, and experts believe getting the vaccine prevents serious illness and reduces potential transmission to others even if you do get infected. The rapid development and expansion of the vaccine is an unprecedented achievement in the history of medicine and is one in which scientists and clinicians at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center  played  leading roles. This underscores the power of our university’s relentless pursuit of innovation and our mission to be of service to our community.

In partnership with VUMC, the university has worked to offer students, faculty and staff ongoing opportunities to receive the vaccine, including making appointments available to all students beginning in mid-April. The Student Health Center has also announced that it will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine beginning Monday, May 24, by appointment only. Students staying in Nashville for the summer are encouraged to call Student Health at 615-322-2427 to schedule an appointment. Time slots will be available 1–3 p.m. Mondays and 9–11 a.m. Thursdays. All World Health Organization-authorized vaccines will be acceptable; Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson are included. Information will be provided for international students with difficulty accessing vaccines in their home country before they come to campus this fall.

More details will be shared throughout the summer about how to provide proof of vaccination,  requesting an accommodation  to be exempted from the vaccination requirement and additional changes to safety protocols. The deadline for submitting an accommodation request is June 15.  

As always, the university’s public health experts, in conjunction with the COVID-19 Safety Protocols Working Group, will monitor the status of the pandemic and share updates as soon as they are available.

**Am I required to get vaccinated if I’ve had COVID-19?** 

Yes. In line with  CDC recommendations, Vanderbilt University requires all faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows to be vaccinated, including those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19. 

**How do I submit my vaccination record?** 

Vanderbilt students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff can now submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center using a password-protected, self-service portal. To submit a vaccination record, please visit the followinlink. 

**I received my vaccination at VUMC/Student Health/Occupational Health, do I need to submit my record to VU?** 

Yes, you will still need to submit your record to the university even if you received your vaccination at Student Health, Occupational Health, VUMC or a VUMC clinic. VUMC (which includes Student Health and Occupational Health) does not automatically share your medical record with VU. 

**Which vaccines are approved?** 

 All World Health Organization-authorized vaccines will be acceptable; Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson are included. Information will be provided for international students who have difficulty accessing vaccines in their home country before they come to campus this fall. 

**I received a vaccine but it is not WHO approved.  What should I do regarding the vaccination requirement?**

The university will be accepting all Word Health Organization authorized vaccines.  The WHO continues to update decisions on vaccines routinely and will continue to do so in the future.  We would recommend reviewing the WHO website to see if the vaccine you have received is on the list to be approved in the near future.    

You can find more details here and on the main WHO website: https://www.who.int/.   

If the vaccine you have received may be approved soon, we would recommend waiting to submit your records until it is approved.  Once approved, the vaccine tracker portal will include an option for that vaccine.  

If the vaccine you have received will not be approved in advance of the vaccine submittal deadline, we would recommend getting a WHO approved vaccine wherever you are located or do so upon arrival (if you are currently out of the country).   

**How do I submit an accommodation?** 

Students can request accommodations for medical exemptions through the Student Access office and religious exemptions through the Equal Opportunity and Access office 

**What is the deadline for submitting vaccination records?**

Students should submit their vaccination records no later than one week before the start date of their fall academic program. 

**What will happen if I don’t submit my vaccination record or an accommodation?**

A hold will be placed on a student’s course registration until the vaccination record has been verified, unless they have an approved (or in-process request for) accommodation or they are an international student who will be vaccinated upon arrival in Nashville.  A student’s enrollment at the university will be cancelled for the semester if the student is noncompliant. 

**Do I need to quarantine as a close contact if I have been  vaccinated?** 

Individuals who have been vaccinated will no longer need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact and their last exposure to a positive person was later than two weeks after their vaccination (the second of two doses for two-dose vaccines, or the single dose for one-dose vaccines) is complete.  The vaccinated person will be exempt from quarantine from the two week mark, ONLY, if they submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center.  To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses will be needed. Email the Command Center at  commandcenter@vanderbilt.edu if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system. Please also keep in mind that individuals who are vaccinated must still follow all campus protocols.  

**Do I need to test in the asymptomatic testing program if vaccinated?** (FOR SUMMER 2021 TESTING) 

Individuals who have been vaccinated will be exempted from the testing program during the summer of 2021 beginning two weeks after their vaccination series is complete or two weeks after the single dose for single dose versions.  The vaccinated person will be exempt from testing beginning from the two week mark ONLY if the person submits their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center. To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following  link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses will be needed. Email the Command Center at  commandcenter@vanderbilt.edu  If any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system. Please also keep in mind that individuals who are vaccinated must still follow all campus protocols. 

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