COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement FAQs

As previously announced, Harvard will require COVID vaccination for all students who will be on campus this fall. As we work to reach the high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community, Harvard has now extended that vaccination requirement to all Harvard community members, including faculty, staff, and researchers, who will have any on-campus presence. Read the full message (5/28/21) on the updated vaccine requirement and find more information in the COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Frequently Asked Questions below.

Please visit the HUHS Vaccine Information webpage and the University Coronavirus website for more information on vaccines and vaccine availability.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement FAQs

Why is Harvard requiring vaccination for all Harvard community members?

A high vaccination rate across the Harvard community is a critical aspect of our anticipated return to full on-campus activity in the fall, public health conditions permitting. To reach the high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community, Harvard is requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all Harvard community members, including students, faculty, staff, and researchers, who will have any on-campus presence. Exceptions will be provided only for medical or religious reasons. Note that unvaccinated individuals may be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., masking, testing) above and beyond what is required of vaccinated individuals. Updates and information regarding the University’s vaccine requirement can be found on the University’s vaccine webpage, and additional details will be added when available.

Community members are advised to complete their vaccination as soon as possible and submit verification of vaccination to HUHS by July 15. Any community member who is already vaccinated and has not yet submitted verification of vaccination to HUHS should submit this information immediately because these data will inform additional policy decisions. You can submit a copy of your vaccination card via the HUHS Patient Portal. Instructions to submit your record can be found on the  University’s Verify Your Vaccine webpage. Persons who have been vaccinated by HUHS do not need to submit such documentation, which is already on file there. HUHS keeps individual information secure and confidential.

Students should plan to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus for the fall semester, meaning that at least two weeks have passed since the final dose of an FDA-authorized or approved vaccine (currently Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) or vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford). You can read more about the requirement and how to submit documentation on the Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) website.  

What vaccines will Harvard accept?

All vaccines authorized by the FDA or the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet the University’s vaccine requirement. The list of vaccines authorized by WHO is updated regularly. We strongly encourage you to be vaccinated when you can with the vaccine that is available to you. Protection from vaccination is helpful while traveling.

Should I be re-vaccinated if I got the vaccine outside the U.S.?

I received a COVID-19 vaccine in another country (not one of the approved in the United States or by the WHO) and will be coming to Harvard. Should I be re-vaccinated when I get to the U.S.?

If you are already vaccinated, you do not need to get any additional vaccines right now. If the vaccine you received is not authorized by WHO by the time you arrive, HUHS will offer you an FDA-authorized vaccine. Guidelines and recommendations are continually updated based on research and this recommendation may change as we get closer to the start of the fall semester. It is important to stay updated by reading all communication coming from Harvard about the vaccine requirement.  Harvard’s coronavirus webpage, www.harvard.edu/coronavirus will also contain the most up-to-date information. Should an international student need a vaccine upon arrival to Harvard, plans are being made to hold vaccination clinics during the first few weeks of the fall semester.  Details will be coming soon on these clinics. 

I was unable to get vaccinated at home before traveling to campus. Can I be vaccinated when I arrive at Harvard?

If you are in the U.S., vaccine appointments are now readily available. You should make every attempt possible to complete your vaccination before you arrive at Harvard. If you are unable to receive a vaccine prior to arrival on campus, HUHS will provide opportunities for vaccination early in the semester during move-in and registration days. Details for scheduling an appointment will be available in July 2021. For those individuals who are not fully vaccinated when they arrive on campus, travel quarantine and testing upon arrival will be required per the university guidelines.

I received one dose of a two-dose vaccine in another country. Can I received my second dose at Harvard?

The only vaccines available for distribution in the U.S. are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. If your first dose was not one of these three, recommendations will be made on a case-by-case basis. We still advise you to get whatever vaccine is available to you, so that you can have some protection during travel. You may contact HUHS directly by email at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu for individual recommendations.

If I have not been vaccinated, where can I get vaccine sources available to me?

If you have not been vaccinated and would like information on vaccine sources available to you, please visit the University’s vaccine webpage, which includes links to resources to help you plan your vaccine and schedule an appointment at a location near you. 

What about international students who may have trouble accessing vaccine before they travel to campus?

For international students and any others unable to access an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine before the fall, the University plans to offer vaccination on arrival. Please note, however, that these students may be subject to additional requirements, such as more frequent testing, until they are considered fully protected by a vaccine. Students may contact HUHS with questions.

Will there be more guidance coming for international students?

For instance, if they can't get vaccinated before they travel and will need it when they arrive, should they just be in touch with HUHS directly? Do they have to advise their School? Or HIO?

International students are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. All vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet the University’s vaccine requirement. If unable to receive a vaccine prior to arrival on campus, HUHS will provide opportunities for vaccination early in the semester during move-in and registration days. Details for scheduling an appointment will be available in July 2021. 

How will Harvard verify if a community member is vaccinated?

You can now upload a copy of your COVID vaccination card to your HUHS Patient Portal. If you have already submitted your COVID vaccination documentation to mrecords@huhs.harvard.edu you do not need to resubmit to the Patient Portal. Your information will be entered into your HUHS medical record. Instructions to upload your card can be found on the University's Verify Your Vaccine webpage.

Please be sure your vaccination card shows the following:

  1. Your name
  2. Date of birth
  3. The manufacturer of the vaccine
  4. The date(s) on which the vaccines were received

If you have received your vaccine outside of the United States your documentation must include the above information, in English, in order for us to accurately update your record.   

Note: If you receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, from Harvard University Health Services you do not need to submit the documentation. Your information is documented in your medical record at the time of your vaccine. 

Please visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Information at HUHS webpage for the latest COVID updates. 

June 11th Immunization Submission Due Date and Registration Holds Update

We understand that WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines, as well as other required vaccines, may be difficult to acquire right now. Please submit any immunization documentation that you have at this time to the Patient Portal. Health Services staff will verify what you have submitted and will let you know if you are missing anything. Vaccine documentation can and should continue to be submitted after June 11th as you receive any required, missing vaccinations. Due to the large volume of submissions we are receiving, it can take 2 to 3 weeks for your Portal to be updated and reflect your submission. We encourage the submissions earlier rather than later so that we can process them in time for class registration.

Registration Holds are not activated at this time. Secure messages announcing the date on which holds will be activated will be sent to all non-compliant students. In the event you have a Registration Hold due to an outstanding immunization, Health Services staff will work with you to provide information and options for you to receive the immunizations you need in order to register for classes.

Does the mandate apply to all learners who will be on campus, or just to enrolled students?

Does the mandate include Executive Education, Continuing Education, etc. who will be on campus, or just to enrolled students?

The requirement to submit to HUHS verification of vaccination applies to all Harvard community members, including all enrolled students at any of Harvard’s Schools, faculty, staff, and researchers, who will have any on-campus presence. 

Does the vaccine requirement apply only to residential students or undergraduate students, or all Harvard students?

The vaccination requirement announced on 5/5/21 applies to enrolled students at any Harvard University school, regardless of graduate level or status (i.e., full- and part-time) if there is any component of their study that involves being on campus. The updated vaccine requirement announced on 5/28/21 includes all Harvard community members, including all enrolled students at any of Harvard’s Schools, faculty, staff, and researchers, who will have any on-campus presence. 

Will the University accept vaccines given in Russia or China?

We will accept vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Authorizations from WHO are under continuous review and students receiving vaccines internationally are encouraged to check the WHO website for updated information.

How do I request an exception to this requirement for religious or other reasons?

If you are a student, fill out the Student Vaccine Exemption form and email the completed form to mrecords@huhs.harvard.edu

For all other community members, we will have a process in place at the end of June. Check back here or on the University’s Verify Your Vaccine webpage at that time. 

Note that unvaccinated individuals may be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., masking, testing) above and beyond what is required of vaccinated individuals.

What are the consequences if I choose not to get vaccinated?

Harvard has and continues to encourage members of the University community to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Any community member who is not vaccinated will be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., masking, additional testing).

In addition, students who are not vaccinated or do not have an approved exemption will be placed on a registration hold.

Am I required to get vaccinated if I’ve had COVID-19?

Yes. Harvard University requires all faculty, staff, and researchers to be vaccinated, including those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19.

Will newly hired faculty, staff and researchers hired after the vaccination submission deadline have to attest to vaccination?

All new hires will be required to complete the attestation form or exemption request within 10 business days of their start date.

When will faculty and staff who are returning from an approved leave (sabbatical, research, medical, family) need to attest?

Faculty and staff returning from an approved leave should submit their vaccination attestation or exemption request prior to returning to campus.

Is there any charge to get vaccinated?

No, COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost to you. HUHS provides free vaccine clinics weekly and you can schedule an appointment through the HUHS Patient Portal or call the vaccine hotline at (617) 495-5711 for assistance with scheduling. There are also a number of places to get vaccinated through local pharmacies and state-run or community-based clinics. Additional information on vaccination options as well as links may be found on the University vaccine site.

Do I need to remain in the asymptomatic testing program if vaccinated?

Yes, we are requiring regular testing of all community members regardless of vaccination status. Our testing program is one of our key protocols for assessing the overall health and safety of the community. Color will send you notifications of when it is your day to test. You can find up-to-date information on testing frequency on the coronavirus site.

Do I need to quarantine as a close contact if I've been vaccinated?

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated and submitted their vaccination information to HUHS will no longer need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact and their last exposure to a positive person was later than two weeks after their vaccination (the second of two doses for two-dose vaccines, or the single dose for one-dose vaccines) is complete. Vaccinated individuals are still expected to participate in contact tracing efforts as requested by HUHS.

Who Can I Contact with Questions About my Specific Situation?

You can send your question to healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu, call the COVID Resource Connector at (617) 496-3100, or reach out to your primary care clinician.