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FAQs on Northeastern’s Vaccination Requirement for Fall 2021

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

All students returning to Northeastern University’s campuses for the Fall 2021 term will be expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the first day of classes.

As parents and students prepare for a return to campus, here are some frequently asked questions regarding Northeastern’s vaccination requirement.

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.

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. All of the scientific evidence to date shows that the vaccines currently in use in the US, Canada, and the UK are safe and effective. We believe this decision will withstand any legal challenges.

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?

Students may request religious and medical exemptions to the policy. Details on how to request an exemption will be announced.

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.

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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.

Will people who get the vaccine still be required to follow Northeastern’s protocols on mask wearing, hand washing, and healthy distancing?

Yes, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Until experts learn more about the protection the vaccine provides, the CDC recommends that people continue to use face masks, wash hands often, and stay at least six feet away from others.

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

Which vaccines will fill the requirement?

You will need to get a vaccine approved in the country where you’ll be taking classes.

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?

Please see the vaccine FAQs on the Northeastern Seattle website. Visit Washington State Department of Health  for more information on the  vaccine distribution timeline and for the vaccine locator.

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?

You can find more information on Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine website. Read the website’s FAQs to learn more about eligibility and scheduling. You may pre-register for an appointment.

Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in London, United Kingdom?

You can find more information on the NHS vaccine website. The website shares information on who can get the vaccine and how to book an appointment.

If I have a question not answered here, where should I go for information?

For other vaccination-related questions, please visit the Massachusetts distribution plan, email COVID19vaccine@northeastern.edu, or call the COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine hotline at 617-373-7333.

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