The COVID-19 vaccine is required of all students (except those with religious or health exemptions, and students enrolled in VCU's entirely online programs).
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Q: Does the vaccine requirement apply to all students? What if I am virtual or off campus?
This requirement applies to all students who live, learn, work or will be on campus for any reason. It also applies to students who are enrolled in virtual classes (unless the degree program is one of VCU's entirely online degree programs).
Q: Are postdocs required to be vaccinated?
Yes. Postdocs are to follow employee/faculty requirements.
Q: When does the vaccine requirement go into effect? What is the deadline to submit records or apply for exemption?
Complete vaccination documentation must be uploaded to VCU Student Health Services at least two weeks prior to your arrival on campus, but no later than July 15, 2021. Please consult with your advisor or program coordinator to confirm your on-campus start date. Health Sciences students and those taking summer classes should receive and report their vaccinations sooner, if possible. Students who seek a religious or health exemption should complete and return the COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption Request Form in their student health portal under the document upload tab titled Vaccine Exemption Request.
Q: I will not be on campus in the fall but will be in a clinical setting, field placement or internship off campus. Does this vaccine requirement apply to me?
Students who will be off campus but enrolled through VCU should check with their placement coordinator to find out about specific placement requirements. Each organization’s requirements may vary.
Q: I am an international student. How does this vaccine requirement apply to me?
International students should visit the Vaccine Guidance for VCU international students and scholars page on the Global Education Office's website for more information.
Q: I had COVID, am I still required to get vaccinated?
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible — although rare — that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.
If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Q: My doctor advised me to wait an extended period of time before getting vaccinated so I won’t meet the deadline. What are my options?
Contact University Student Health Services 804-827-8047 for guidance or upload a copy of your medical exemption to your University Student Health Services web portal under the document upload tab titled, "Vaccine Exemption Request."
Q: What is allowed for exemption? How do I file for an exemption?
Students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 Vaccination requirement based on religious or health reasons. Students seeking this exemption may submit their request using the COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption Request Form in their Student Health portal under the document upload tab titled, "Vaccine Exemption Request." The deadline is July 15.
Q: How do I submit my vaccination record?
How-to videos are available through University Student Health Services. Note that you must upload documentation of both doses if you receive a two-dose vaccine.
Q: How do I check the status of my vaccine record?
To check the status of vaccine submissions:
Q: Does VCU keep my vaccination record and/or exemption request confidential?
Q: What if I have already submitted my COVID vaccination record to Student Health?
If you have already submitted your COVID vaccination record to University Student Health Services, you do not need to submit it again. You can check the status of your record by logging into the Student Health portal, going to the “My Profile” tab and choosing “Immunization History.”
Q: I lost my vaccination card. How do I go about getting a copy of my record?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend taking a photo of both sides of the card as a back up, in case you lose it. But if it is already lost, here are recommendations from the CDC:
Q: I was vaccinated at a VCU clinic or office. Do I still need to submit my documentation?
Yes, please submit your record to University Student Health Services. How-to videos are available:
Q: Which vaccines meet the requirement?
COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or by the World Health Organization will meet this requirement.
Q: What is the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health and VCU Health have developed frequently asked questions related to the safety and efficacy regarding the types of vaccines available.
For a quick reference of the three vaccines, download this guide from VCU Health.
Q: If I get my vaccine through VCU, which vaccine will I receive?
The type of vaccine you receive through on-campus clinics will depend on availability. VCU encourages anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible with whichever vaccine is is available to you.
The following websites provide more information about the different vaccines:
Q: What happens if I can’t get fully vaccinated or do not request an exemption by the deadline?
All students will need to submit vaccine documentation by July 15, understanding that a second dose may need to come soon after. Students need to submit either the Exemption Request Form or the vaccine documentation. If a student's first dose is prior to July 15, they should submit that documentation and note the date of the appointment of their second dose. Then upload the documentation showing both doses as soon after their second dose as possible.
VCU has a grace period of about a month after July 15 to help accommodate second doses. Students who are not in compliance by July 15 will begin to receive reminders from VCU alerting them to the need to complete the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
If by Aug. 16 a student is not in compliance, a registration hold will be put in place. Examples of what happens with a registration hold: students who are already registered for classes will not be able to adjust their schedule until the requirement is met and the registration hold is lifted; students who have not yet registered, will not be able to register; students who have a registration hold will not be able to register for the spring semester. These students will also have to report for surveillance testing and complete daily health checks.
Q: If I have not reported my vaccine status and do not have a medical or religious exemption, what happens if I do not report for surveillance testing?
Students who do not report for testing will face disciplinary action up to and including administrative withdrawal from classes for the fall semester. Students will receive a warning if they miss one test; if they miss two they will be administratively withdrawn.
Q: Can I get vaccinated through VCU/on campus?
Yes. Students can schedule an appointment to get their COVID vaccine through the University Student Health Services web portal. If you are not near campus, you can search all vaccination opportunities near you through vaccinefinder.org.
Q: What public health measures are required for students who are exempt from the vaccine requirement?
Students who are exempt from vaccination must follow safety guidelines for their health and for the health of our community including but not limited to: routine surveillance testing, completing daily health checks, and continuing to follow public safety measures including quarantine procedures. Entry Pass requirements will apply and allow entry if public health measures are followed.
Q: Is there a time limit on vaccines? If someone got vaccinated in January, will that still be validated?
Currently, the CDC and VDH have not issued guidance on the time limit of the vaccine and when a booster might be needed. Once the guidance is issued, the PHRT will review and put forward recommendations for the university to consider and approve.
Q: What does “vaccinated” mean? Do I need to get vaccinated at least two weeks prior to the start of classes?
In general, you are considered fully vaccinated:
The deadline is July 15.
Q: How do we know if someone has been vaccinated or not?
Students and employees are not obligated to share vaccination or other medical information with their peers. All students and employees will sign an attestation noting that they understand their responsibilities and public health measures as a member of the VCU community.
Q: If I am exempt from the vaccine requirement, am I still allowed to live on campus?
Yes. You will be required to participate in surveillance testing and daily health checks as well as wear a mask and practice physical distancing.