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COVID-19 Vaccination Policy FAQs (students)

Updated June 22, 2021

General Questions

Why is WNE requiring students be vaccinated against COVID-19?

A high vaccination rate across the Golden Bear community is a critical aspect of our anticipated return to full on-campus activity in the fall. To reach the high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community, WNE is requiring a COVID-19 vaccination for all students. Exceptions will be granted only for medical or religious reasons. 

What is the deadline to submit our proof of documentation?

All students registered for fall 2021 classes will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to Health Services by July 23, 2021.

Which COVID-19 vaccine is required for U.S.-based students?

The current list of COVID-19 vaccines approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States are:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson and Johnson/Janssen

International students: please see the FAQ below that addresses specific questions related to different vaccines.

How do I submit proof of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

Proof of vaccination can be accomplished by uploading an image of your completed COVID-19 vaccination card to covidvac@wne.edu

Students must be fully vaccinated before their earliest return to campus, which means completing the dosage protocol of the particular vaccine (one injection for Johnson and Johnson/Janssen or two injections for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and completing the two-week waiting period for optimal effectiveness.

Please be sure your vaccination card shows the following:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • The manufacturer of the vaccine
  • The date(s) on which the vaccines were received

Sample of a completed CDC vaccination card:

Can I request an exemption?

Yes. You can request an exemption based upon medical or religious reasons. Exemptions may be requested for both online and onsite learning students.

How do I request an exemption?

Students seeking an exemption for medical or religious reasons should follow the COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption Protocol.

If I don’t attend classes on campus, am I required to be vaccinated?

All students registered for fall 2021 classes will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to Health Services by July 23, 2021.   

WNE will provide an exception to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students with fully online (not hybrid) course schedules who are residing outside of New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts) or New York State.  All students residing in New England or New York must provide proof of vaccination in order to attend fall classes OR submit and be approved for a medical or religious exemption.  

If I receive an exemption, will I be required to wear a mask while on campus?

Students who receive an exemption are strongly encouraged to continue to wear a mask, but will not be required to do so.

If I have questions about the vaccines or any aspect of the WNE vaccination requirement, whom can I call?

You can send your question to healthservices@wne.edu, or call 413-782-1211. You, of course, can also reach out to your primary care clinician for medical information about the vaccine.

Planning for Fall 2021

What will happen if I begin the vaccination process, but have not completed it by the time classes start?

Students who have initiated the vaccination process, but have not yet completed the series and required two-week post-vaccination period are encouraged to submit documentation of any vaccination progress.  

Any student who has initiated the vaccine series, but not yet completed it, is considered unvaccinated, and health records will reflect that the student’s vaccination process is in progress. Health Services will track these students until all compliance requirements are met. Students will be permitted to be on campus during this time and are encouraged to maintain standard safety precautions, such as masking and social distancing. 

I was vaccinated in spring 2021. Does that count as having been vaccinated?

Yes. You are considered fully vaccinated, as long as you have proof of completing the required number of doses for the vaccine you have received AND at least two weeks have passed since your last dose.

Will entry testing be required at the beginning of the fall semester?

Entry testing remains a valuable strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Entry testing will be conducted for all unvaccinated students who move into campus-managed residential facilities at the beginning of the semester, as well as for unvaccinated student-athletes.

Those who have been fully vaccinated and those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 90 days will be exempted from entry testing.

Will there be asymptomatic surveillance testing for the entire student population when classes begin?

WNE will follow the recommendations of the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which include administering routine weekly or twice a week asymptomatic surveillance testing if moderate COVID-19 transmission rates are evident.

Fully vaccinated students will be exempt from asymptomatic surveillance testing.

Are people on campus allowed to ask me if I have been vaccinated?

No. Consistent with WNE policies on health information privacy (HIPPA), your vaccination status is confidential.

Am I allowed to wear my mask on campus if I have been vaccinated?

Yes. WNE recognizes and is sensitive to the fact that some students may prefer to continue to wear a mask.

Do we plan to have an on-campus vaccine clinic again?

WNE continues to monitor the need for ongoing access to COVID-19 vaccines and is evaluating the need to offer a vaccine clinic on campus in the fall. All students are strongly encouraged to begin the process of getting your vaccination or requesting an exemption now, and should not wait for the fall to see if an on-campus clinic can be offered.

Additional information for international students

I am an international student and reside outside the United States. I received a different vaccine than what is FDA-authorized in the United States. Will that be accepted?

WNE will accept those vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) through the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) process. Presently, this listing includes:

  • Pfizer (BioNTech)
  • AstraZeneca (SK Bio)
  • AstraZeneca (EU)
  • Covishield (Serum Institute of India)
  • Janssen-Cilag International NV
  • Moderna 
  • Sinovac
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Comiranty (BioNTech Tozinameran)

I am an international student and received a vaccine that is not on the WHO list. Will I need to be revaccinated?

Health Services recommends that you call or email us so that we can evaluate your situation individually and provide appropriate guidance. You can contact Health Services at: healthservices@wne.edu   or call 413-782-1211.

The CDC has published guidelines for the interchangeability of the COVID 19 Vaccines,  COVID 19 Vaccine Interchangeability in addition to guidance on people being vaccinated outside the United States, People Vaccinated outside the United States. Health Services will be following the published guidelines for clinical management of the students that may fall into this category.

I am an international student and don’t have a CDC vaccination card. How do I submit proof of vaccination?

Proof of vaccination can be accomplished by uploading an image of the documentation that was provided to you at the time of receiving your vaccine. Images can be uploaded to covidvac@wne.edu.  You can also reach out to Health Services at healthservices@wne.edu or call 413-782-1211 if you have any questions about the process or your documentation.

Additional information about Covid-19 vaccines

Are the COVID 19 vaccines safe?

Over 310 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States from December 14, 2020, through June 14, 2021.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA). 

These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Serious side effects are rare. To date, the systems in place to monitor the safety of these vaccines have found only two serious types of health problems after vaccination, both of which are rare. These are anaphylaxis and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after vaccination with J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine; and myocarditis or pericarditis after vaccination with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations (Pfizer and Moderna). These reports are rare given the number of vaccine doses administered.

You can find additional information about COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy at Myths and Facts about COVID 19 Vaccines.

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. ​ Neither can any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States. ​

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. You can find additional information about COVID-19 vaccines at Myths and Facts about COVID 19 Vaccines.

How will I feel after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.

Feel free to contact Health Services with any questions you may have. You can contact them via email at healthservices@wne.edu or by phone, 413-782-1211.