Vaccine requirement for students

Have a question that isn’t answered below? Send your questions to together@vcu.edu.

Q: Does the vaccine requirement apply to all students? What if I am virtual or off campus?

This requirement applies to students who expect to be on campus for any reason, such as attending class, using VCU facilities or attending events. So if you are attending virtual classes but are coming to campus to use facilities, then this requirement also applies to you.

Q: Are postdocs required to be vaccinated?

Postdocs will follow employee/faculty guidelines. While currently not required, employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and report their vaccine.

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:

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:

  • Contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record.
  • If you can’t reach the vaccination provider, contact your state health department’s immunization information system. You can find state IIS info here.
  • If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText, you can access your vaccination information through those tools.
  • If you have made every effort to receive a copy of your vaccination card and still need a second shot, talk to a vaccination provider.

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 by the deadline?

Contact University Student Health Services to discuss your situation.

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: wearing a mask, 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: Why is vaccination a condition of enrollment but not a condition of employment?

The COVID-19 vaccination requirement is in line with the current vaccine requirements for enrollment. Information is available on the University Student Health Services Immunizations page.

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:

  • Two weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

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.