Beginning in the Fall 2021 academic term, all students attending Northeastern University will be expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the first day of classes. Check this page frequently for everything you need to know about Northeastern’s vaccination requirement, including up-to-date university messages and FAQs.
April 30, 2021 — COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Boston
We are pleased to announce that Northeastern will partner with a local pharmacy to offer COVID-19 vaccinations for students next week on the Boston campus.
April 6, 2021 — Student Vaccination Requirements for Fall 2021
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Northeastern has come together to take every possible step for our community’s health and safety—from wearing masks to healthy distancing to regular COVID-19 testing. Today, I write to announce a new health and safety measure that will help us achieve the full return to campus activities we are planning this fall. Beginning in the fall academic term, all students attending Northeastern University’s campuses will be expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the first day of classes.
February 26, 2021 — Update on Massachusetts Vaccine Appointments
We are writing to update you on Northeastern’s vaccination program. Earlier this week, the state of Massachusetts announced that, due to limited federal supply, it will prioritize vaccine distribution to its mass vaccination sites, medical facilities, and pharmacies. This means that some other sites—such as those on college and university campuses—will not receive additional vaccine in the near term.
February 4, 2021 – COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Hotline
Northeastern University’s COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine hotline is available to answer your questions about the university’s distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
January 20, 2021 – Vaccine Distribution—Phase Two
We’ve continued to fulfill our teaching and research mission throughout this global pandemic by doing our part to “protect the pack” and keep each other safe. Earlier this month, more than 500 Northeastern community members—including staff in the Life Sciences Testing Center, our COVID testing centers, and our first responders—received vaccinations in Phase One of Massachusetts’ vaccination plan. If you believe that you qualified for a vaccine in Phase One based on the Massachusetts guidelines and did not receive an invitation to schedule one, please contact COVID19vaccine@northeastern.edu.
January 9, 2021 – COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Earlier this week, Northeastern became one of the first universities in the United States to begin vaccinating its campus community. This important milestone marks a critical turning point in our continuing efforts over the last ten months to safeguard the health of the Northeastern community and help hasten the end of the pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Northeastern’s Vaccine Requirement for Fall 2021
Is Northeastern able to vaccinate its students, faculty, and staff?
On January 5, Northeastern was the first university in Massachusetts to begin vaccinating its community. However, due to limited federal supply, in late February the state of Massachusetts decided to prioritize vaccine distribution to its mass vaccination sites and is no longer providing vaccine to higher education institutions. If you are eligible for vaccination now under the state’s three-phased approach, we recommend that you schedule your vaccination at one of the sites listed on mass.gov/vaccine.
How will Massachusetts determine the order and priority of vaccine distribution?
Massachusetts is in Phase Three of its phased vaccine distribution, with vaccines available to the general population. Phase Three includes higher education workers, including administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff.
Is vaccination mandatory?
Beginning in the fall academic term, all students attending Northeastern University’s campuses will be expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the first day of classes. You can find additional information in the university’s announcement of the new policy.
Is it legal to require the Covid vaccine for students if it is only approved through an Emergency Use Authorization?
The health and wellbeing of our community is what drives our decisions. We believe that for students in a close-knit, residential environment vaccination is essential. The overall scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports widespread vaccination. We believe our vaccination requirement is consistent with current law.
Why is Northeastern requiring all students to be vaccinated against Covid-19?
We are requiring the Covid vaccine for the same reason we require students to be vaccinated for Measles or Meningitis—to protect our community. At this point, vaccination is proving to be the best way to control and ultimately defeat the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the best tool we have for advancing the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff. Students with legitimate religious or medical exemptions will be accommodated.
Is the vaccine mandatory for faculty and staff, and do we expect the vaccine to be mandatory for faculty and staff?
The COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory only for students.
Will there be an option to take courses remotely through Hybrid NUflex in the fall, if someone doesn’t want to receive the vaccine?
All students are expected to arrive on campus in September fully vaccinated, unless they have a medical or religious exemption. The university is planning to return to a normal, in-person fall semester with in-person classes and regular campus activities.
Where can I submit my proof of immunization?
Details on how to submit your proof of vaccination will be announced.
Can I request an exemption?
Yes. Students may request religious and medical exemptions to the policy. Religious and medical exemptions to the vaccine policy will be approved in the same way Northeastern approves other vaccine exemptions. Students who have a medical reason for not receiving an immunization, must submit documentation from their health care provider documenting the reason and diagnosis that prohibits receiving a vaccine. Students who have a religious reason must submit a letter, authored by the student, expressing the reason for the exemption. Details on how to submit the requests will be announced in due course.
Will students who receive a medical or religious exemption be required to follow different health and safety protocols?
No. Students who receive a religious or medical exemption will follow the same healthy and safety protocols required of any Northeastern student. They will be able to live in residence halls, attend classes in person, and participate in any campus activity available to the rest of the student body.
What will happen if I try my best to access the vaccine and I’m not able to before classes begin?
Northeastern will continue to carefully monitor vaccine access and supply across our global network locations, especially as we approach the start of the fall term. We strongly encourage you to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you. For international students who may have limited access to the vaccine, Northeastern will assist you in getting the vaccine soon after your arrival.
Does this requirement mean COVID-19 testing requirements or other health and safety protocols will change?
Northeastern will continue to monitor and follow CDC guidelines when it comes to health and safety protocols like mask-wearing, hand-washing, and healthy distancing. All health and safety requirements, including testing, remain in place until further notice.
Which vaccines will fill the requirement?
You will need to get a vaccine approved in the country where you’ll be taking classes.
- Students attending a campus in Canada will need a vaccine approved by the Canadian government.
- Students attending a campus in the United States will need a vaccine approved by the U.S. government.
- Students attending a campus in the United Kingdom will need a vaccine approved by the U.K.
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in California?
Please see the vaccine FAQs on the Northeastern Bay area website. Visit the following websites for more information:
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Seattle, Washington?
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Charlotte, North Carolina?
Please see the vaccine FAQs on the Charlotte website. Visit the NCDHHS Vaccine Website for more information on the vaccine distribution timeline and the Mecklenburg County Vaccination Page for information on local distribution. We encourage you to start by registering an account with Atrium, Novant, or Mecklenburg County Health Department to easily schedule an appointment when your group becomes available.
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Toronto, Ontario?
You can find more information on Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine website. The province has a three-phased vaccination plan with vaccines available to the general public beginning in July 2021. Visit this page to book a vaccine if you are eligible.
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Vancouver, British Columbia?
You can find more information on British Columbia’s COVID-19 vaccine website. The province has a four-phase vaccination plan with vaccines available to the general public beginning in April through June 2021. Read more about eligibility for the vaccine and registering for the vaccine.
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Portland, Maine?
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in London, United Kingdom?
If a student has already received a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom, will Northeastern require them to be vaccinated a second time?
Students who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not authorized in the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom can request a medical exemption to the vaccination policy. Medical experts and public health agencies have not yet issued a recommendation on the safety of being vaccinated twice. Until we have confirmation that it is safe to do so, these students can request a medical exemption to the policy.
Should a student delay vaccination if they only have access to a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom?
We do not advise that students delay vaccination if another vaccine is available to them, and we recommend that you discuss your vaccination options with your primary care physician. Students who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not authorized in the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom can request a medical exemption to the vaccination policy.
Does the vaccine requirement apply to students participating in Northeastern global co-op and study abroad programs?
Yes. The vaccination policy applies to all university travelers participating in fall global co-op and study abroad programs, including N.U.in, NU Bound, and NU Immerse. You should carefully review any vaccination requirements for the country where you are traveling and consult the approved vaccine list for your destination. Please note that these lists are constantly being updated. We recommend discussing vaccination options with your primary care physician.
If I can’t get the vaccine before arriving in the U.S., will I be able to get it on the Northeastern campus before the term starts?
Northeastern is not currently distributing the vaccine on its campuses, including in Massachusetts where the state changed its vaccine distribution plan. If you are a Northeastern student who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts, you are eligible to access the vaccine through another vaccine distributor listed on vaxfinder.mass.gov. While appointments can’t be scheduled months in advance, we can assist you in booking a vaccine closer the date of the fall term.
What kind of help will Northeastern provide international students who are unable to access the vaccine in their home country?
For international students who may have limited access to the vaccine, Northeastern will assist you in getting the vaccine soon after your arrival. Northeastern will appoint and train staff to assist students with booking vaccination appointments at the vaccination sites available in their campus location. Appointments can’t be scheduled months in advance, but we can assist you in booking a vaccine closer to the date of the fall term.
Will I be able to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before program start date if I have a vaccine appt?
No, International Students can only enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date on your I-20/DS-2019. Please review the Academic Calendar for other important dates for the start of your program. Please contact Office of Global Services for questions regarding your individual arrival plans.
Which international documents will be accepted as proof of immunization?
Please keep any vaccination records you have available to you, to document your immunization.
How should an international student provide proof of COVID-19 immunization to Northeastern if their country doesn’t provide proof of immunization?
We recommend following the same process an international student would follow for other proofs of immunization.
- Make an appointment with a doctor who is authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Bring any record of your COVID-19 vaccination, including approximate dates.
- The doctor will review them, may do a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies, and certify that the individual is vaccinated based on the document provided as proof of vaccination or through a blood test.
- The physician might recommend another vaccine based on what they see in the blood test results.
Is an international student allowed to get a vaccination in Canada, the United States, or the United Kingdom if their permanent residence is outside of the country?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine is available to international students in all of our global network locations.
- In Massachusetts, the vaccine is available to anyone who lives, works, or studies in the state.
- In California, vaccinations are available to anyone regardless of immigration or citizenship status.
- In North Carolina, vaccines are available regardless of immigration status.
- In Washington, vaccines are available regardless of immigration status.
- In Canada, vaccinations are available to anyone who lives, works or studies in British Columbia or Ontario, regardless of immigration status
- In the United Kingdom, the government has confirmed that vaccines will be available regardless of immigration status.
Please note that each location has its own phased vaccination plan based on age, health risk, occupation, and other factors. You may need to meet other eligibility factors to get the vaccine.
Are faculty and higher education staff in Phase Two or Phase Three?
Massachusetts guidelines place most higher education employees in Phase Three. Phase Three includes “Higher education workers, including administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff.”
How will Northeastern protect the private information of those who attest to certain medical conditions in the attestation form?
Northeastern safeguards this data using its strictest security controls. The data you submit does not become part of your personnel or student record and is only used to invite you to schedule a first and second vaccination dose.
If someone lives with a person in Phase Two, do they qualify for the vaccine in Phase Two or must they wait until Phase Three or when they are eligible?
Living with or acting as a family caretaker for a person in Phase Two doesn’t qualify someone to get the vaccination in Phase Two. Each person qualifies for Phase Two based on their own age, occupation, or certain medical conditions.
If someone is working or studying remotely but is coming to campus for the vaccination, do they need to get a COVID-19 test?
Yes. If possible, you should plan to get tested the day before your vaccination appointment in the interest of keeping yourself and others safe.
After Your Vaccination
What are the testing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals?
Faculty, staff, and students can move to a testing cadence of once every seven days after they attest that they are fully vaccinated. Visit vaccine.northeastern.edu to access the Self-Report Vaccination form. Submitting the form will move you to a testing cadence of once every seven days if you are marked Primarily In-Person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler.
At our other U.S. campuses where COVID-19 testing is required, fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students will continue to test once weekly.
Will people who get the vaccine be exempt from required COVID-19 testing?
No. At this time, people who get the vaccine should continue with their required COVID-19 testing.
Will people who get the vaccine be exempt from quarantine if exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19?
Northeastern follows MDPH guidelines on this question: If a fully vaccinated person is exposed to someone with COVID-19 but has no symptoms, they are not required to quarantine. However, it is critical to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and to avoid being in close contact with others for 14 days following an exposure, even if they are fully vaccinated. If they experience symptoms, they should indicate the symptoms on the Daily Wellness Check, isolate themselves from others, speak to a member of the Northeastern Wellness Team, and be tested for COVID-19.
Other Vaccination Questions
Could I test positive or be infected because of the vaccine?
No. The vaccines do not contain the live COVID-19 virus, and neither vaccine will cause you to test positive. The CDC provides more information on these questions and others you may have about the vaccine, how your body may respond to it, and how it works.
Can I receive the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
Yes, but only after you recover and meet the criteria to discontinue isolation. Because reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection, you may want to defer vaccination for 90 days after recovery. If you received antibody therapy to treat COVID-19, you should wait for 90 days after the date of the treatment before you receive the vaccine. Please consult your primary care provider if you have further questions about your history of COVID-19 what it means for you to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Can I receive the vaccine if I was exposed to a person with COVID-19?
Yes, but only after you meet the criteria to discontinue quarantine. Receiving the vaccine after you are exposed to the virus will not prevent an infection caused by that exposure. Because you are at a high risk of developing the infection and transmitting it to other people, you have to stay quarantined until cleared by the Northeastern Wellness Team or a public health authority. If you are exposed after you schedule your vaccination, please reschedule your appointment.
Can I receive the vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition, am pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding?
Please consult your primary care providers and the CDC guidelines about the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine.
If I have a question not answered here, where should I go for information?