COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement General Questions

Which vaccines does NIU accept?

NIU is following the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidance and will accept all vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO). Those include:

Updated 9/2/21

Why is the university enacting these requirements?

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself against COVID-19 and to limit community transmission; requiring it of our students will help assure a safe, in-person experience on campus in the fall.

What proof of vaccination do students and employees need to provide?

NIU will require an official vaccination card or documentation from a medical provider. At the time of vaccination in the United States, each individual is typically provided a vaccination card that lists the type of vaccination (Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson) received, the date(s) it was provided and who (health department, doctor, pharmacist etc.) provided it. The card also has a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo in the upper right corner. If you lost the card or did not receive one, you can return to the provider and request documentation or contact your state’s health department’s immunization information system. Find your state’s immunization information system online.

International students vaccinated outside of the U.S. will need to provide proof of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.

Updated 8/31/21

Do I need to be fully vaccinated before I move into the residence halls or attend in-person classes?

As long as you have received either the two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Covidshield, Sinopharm or Sinovac, or the one dose of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), before you move into the residence halls or attend in person classes, you will be permitted to do so. Students living in the residence halls who have not had at least two weeks since the second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Covidshield, Sinopharm or Sinovac, or the one dose of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), will be required to take COVID-19 tests administered for free by the university before moving into the residence halls.

Updated 9/2/21

Are there exemptions to the student vaccine requirement? If so, what are they?Updated

Students can apply for one of two exemptions for not submitting proof of vaccination:

  • Medical:If you choose the medical exemption, you will be required to submit a signed statement of medical exemption from your primary care provider. You will also be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing if you are on campus and participating in any form of in-person classes or experiences.
  • Religious: If you select the religious exemption, you will need to submit a statement in your own words regarding the grounds for religious exemption. Your objection must set forth the specific religious belief that conflicts with the immunization and may be personal and need not be directed by the tenets of an established religious organization. General philosophical or moral reluctance to allow immunizations will not provide an enough basis for an exception to the requirements. You will also be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing if you are on campus and participating in any form of in-person classes or experiences.

Updated 10/15/21

What restrictions will be placed on students who are not vaccinated?Updated

Students who are not vaccinated and do not have an NIU-approved Medical or Religious exemption by Jan. 6, 2022, will not be permitted to take in-person classes, participate in  university-sponsored experiential learning opportunities such as clinicals, internships and student-teaching and/or live in the residence halls during the Spring 2022 semester.

Students who cannot provide proof of vaccination and have an NIU-approved Medical or Religious exemption will be required to participate in weekly campus surveillance testing throughout the Spring 2021 semester.

Updated 10/15/21

Do I need to be vaccinated or participate in surveillance testing this semester if my courses are online?

If your classes are strictly online AND you will not be on campus OR participating in an in-person, NIU-sponsored experiential learning opportunity (student teaching, clinicals, internships, etc.), you are not required to get the vaccine or participate in weekly surveillance testing, but will need to complete the REMOTE EXEMPTION form as soon as possible in order to be in compliance with university protocols.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine FDA Approval and Personal Exemptions

I took the Personal Exemption until vaccines received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. What does the 8/23/21 full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine mean for me?Updated

NIU students who received a Personal Exemption while vaccinations were under Emergency Use Authorization status are required to show proof of vaccination by no later than Jan. 6, 2022 in order to be permitted to take in-person classes, participate in  university-sponsored experiential learning opportunities such as clinicals, internships and student-teaching and/or live in the residence halls during the Spring 2022 semester.

Updated 10/15/21

Is there a deadline by which students must now be vaccinated? Updated

Students will be required to provide proof of vaccination by no later than Jan. 6, 2022 before they will be permitted to take in-person classes, participate in university-sponsored experiential learning opportunities such as clinicals, internships and student-teaching and/or live in the residence halls during the Spring 2022 semester. Students who register for in-person classes for the Spring 2022 semester will be required to complete a COVID-19 enrollment attestation affirming that you will have taken one of the two actions outlined below prior to January 6, 2022. If you do not provide proof of vaccination or have an NIU-approved Medical or Religious exemption by Jan. 6, 2022 you will be removed from your classes on Jan. 7, 2022.

Updated 10/15/21

What happens if a student is not vaccinated and doesn’t have an exemption?Updated

Students who fail to provide proof of vaccination and do not have an NIU-approved Religious or Medical exemption, will not be permitted to take in-person classes, participate in university-sponsored experiential learning opportunities such as clinicals, internships and student-teaching and/or live in the residence halls during the Spring 2022 semester.

Updated 10/15/21

International Students

What is the process for international students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and show proof of vaccination?

To be considered vaccinated, all students – domestic or international – must provide proof that they have received the full dose of any of the following vaccines: Janssen (Johnson & Johnson); Moderna; Pfizer/BioNTech; or AstraZeneca.

The university will host clinics where students can receive these vaccines for free.

International students have the following options:

  • If you are completely unvaccinated, you can opt for either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two doses of the Pfizer administered at least 21 days apart or two doses of the Moderna vaccine, to be administered at least 28 days apart. If you have received a single dose of Pfizer or Moderna, you can receive your second dose, as long as it has been at least 21 (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) since the initial dose.
  • If you have received a vaccine not approved by the FDA – these include the AstraZeneca – you can choose from the three available FDA-approved options and are eligible to get inoculated as long as it has been at least 28 days since you received the other vaccine.

Students will then log into their MyNIU accounts to upload their proof of vaccination.

Updated 7/1/21

Additional Vaccine Questions

If I am vaccinated and demonstrate proof of vaccination, will I still have to wear a mask on campus?

All employees, students and guests, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask indoors while on campus. You're expected to supply and maintain your own face masks. Bandanas and neck gaiters—made of thin, stretch tubes of fabric down the neck—aren’t effective for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and are not acceptable face coverings while on campus.  

If you can't wear a face mask because of a disability, contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) as soon as possible. The DRC will determine any reasonable accommodations. Faculty can request to view any approved accommodation documentation you receive from the DRC.

I lost my COVID-19 vaccination card. How do I get a replacement?
  • Contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record.
  • If you cannot reach the vaccination provider, contact your state health department’s immunization information system. Find your state’s immunization information system online.
  • If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText, you can access your vaccination information through those tools.
Can I request to live with someone who is vaccinated?
No. Because of confidentiality laws pertaining to personal medical information, the university cannot make room assignments based on someone’s private medical history. For that same reason, we cannot share information relating to students’ vaccination status.

Finding A Vaccine Clinic

When will I be eligible for a vaccine?

Anyone in Illinois over the age of 12 is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. You should take advantage of the first opportunity to get vaccinated that you are offered.

Which vaccine will I get if/when NIU offers it? And why?

The DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) offers vaccine clinic at several locations. Clinic opportunities are listed on the DCHD website. The vaccine offered differs by day, and the clinic administers what it has been provided. The CDC recommends taking whatever vaccine is made available to you at your first opportunity. 

Vaccine Release Time, Side Effects and Recovery

Does the university allow release time for employees to get the vaccine?

Yes. The university has authorized release time for employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, including hourly operating staff. Employees who wish to receive the vaccine should coordinate with their supervisors, and supervisors are asked to facilitate participation for those who secure appointment times for the vaccine.

Should I fill out the Protecting the Pack checklist if I don’t feel well after receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

If after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine you experience side effects (fever, chills, fatigue, headache and body aches), please do not immediately submit a COVID-19 Screening Checklist. A checklist should only be submitted if side effects begin or last four days following vaccination with day one being the date of your vaccination. For example, if the day of your vaccination is Thursday, only submit a COVID-19 Screening Checklist if side effects begin or last beyond Sunday.

After You Are Vaccinated

Moderna and Pfizer Vaccines

Do I have to take the second dose? What happens if I don't take the second dose?

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses, given weeks apart, to get the most protection. Failure to get the second dose of those vaccines will diminish the protection that you receive by nearly half. It’s important to remember that it’s not unusual for many vaccinations to require two, or even three, doses.

Can I schedule my second dose at a different location than my first dose?

Illinois Department of Public Health guidance says patients should schedule an appointment to receive their second dose of vaccine at the same location where they received their first dose, to help ensure proper allocation of doses to providers.

So, consider whether you’ll be able to easily return to the original location for your second dose. For instance, students returning home for the summer may want to wait until after they return home to get vaccinated to avoid a midsummer trip to campus.

Updated 4/13/21

Back to top