Vaccine Requirements for Faculty and Staff

Why is Suffolk University requiring vaccinations for COVID-19?

Suffolk is requiring students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to protect the health and safety of our community, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

The vaccinations are extremely effective and the best tool we have to ensure that we can have a vibrant campus in the fall of 2021. There are a number of benefits to this vaccination requirement, including:

  • It helps prevent severe COVID-19 infection and the potential for related serious and/or long-term adverse health effects among students, faculty and staff;
  • It significantly reduces the likelihood of transmission among members of the Suffolk Community;
  • It creates a safer, more secure environment for Suffolk community members by drastically reducing the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks on campus;
  • It helps to alleviate anxiety and discomfort for students, faculty, and staff who are fearful of COVID-19;
  • It helps to provide clarity about the upcoming academic year;
  • It may help contribute to the reduction of COVID-19 spread in surrounding communities;
  • It reflects the University’s support of and contribution to a larger public health endeavor with global implications; and
  • It provides clear signals to prospective, new, and current students and their families about the importance of safety and health at Suffolk.

Who is included in the vaccination requirement?

All members of the campus community — students, faculty, and staff — will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, except as otherwise stated in this FAQ.

What vaccines are available in the U.S.? How can I get vaccinated now?

As of the end of April, 2021, if you live in the U.S. you must receive one of the following vaccines in order to meet the fully vaccinated requirement:

  • Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (two doses 3 weeks apart)
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (two doses 4 weeks apart)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (one dose)

You may obtain your vaccination(s) in Massachusetts or out-of-state. You do not have to obtain your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) at the same location as your first vaccination. For example, you may receive your first vaccination in Massachusetts and your second vaccination (Pfizer or Moderna) in another state.

Anyone who is at least 16 years old and lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts is eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination(s) now. For those of you intending to obtain your vaccination(s) in Massachusetts, please go the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccination information page for information about how and where to obtain a vaccination.

To obtain your vaccination(s) outside of Massachusetts, view the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine. You may schedule an out-of-state appointment via the CDC vaccination page. You do not have to obtain your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) at the same location as your first vaccination.

What does it mean to be “fully” vaccinated?

Public health officials consider an individual to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

By what date must employees be fully vaccinated?

In order to begin the fall semester with a fully vaccinated community, we are requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Monday, August 16. Instructions for student and employees on where to upload vaccination information can be found below.

Please see the following chart to help you plan your COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Please make your appointments well in advance to ensure you will be fully vaccinated by the August 16 deadline.

Pfizer–BioNTech Vaccine Moderna Vaccine Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
To be fully vaccinated by August 16, if you will receive two doses of the Pfizer–BioNTech Vaccine, you must: To be fully vaccinated by August 16, if you will receive two doses of the Moderna Vaccine, you must: To be fully vaccinated by August 16, if you will receive one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, you must:
Receive your first dose of the Pfizer–BioNTech Vaccine by July 12 Receive your first dose of the Moderna Vaccine by July 5 Receive your one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Vaccine by August 2
Receive your second dose of the Pfizer–BioNTech Vaccine by August 2 Receive your second dose of the Moderna Vaccine by August 2 You will be fully vaccinated by August 16
You will be fully vaccinated by August 16 You will be fully vaccinated by August 16

What if I am not fully vaccinated by August 16? Can I get an extension to submit my vaccination documentation?

All faculty and staff are required to upload documentation of both doses of the COVID-19 Pfizer or Moderna vaccination or one dose of the J &J vaccination into the CoVerified app. If you received just one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and your second shot will be after August 16, you must complete the Vaccination Extension Request Form.

Upon review of the Vaccination Extension Request, faculty and staff who are granted an extension will be permitted access to campus buildings as long as they test once weekly and wear face coverings at all times. Specific instructions will come from a CHW Nurse Practitioner. Please expect a call on your cell phone. And, please sure to set up your cellphone so you can receive voicemail messages.

Do I need to be vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19?

Yes. Anyone who previously had COVID-19 will still be required to be vaccinated. The immunity acquired post-infection lasts about 90 days. The immunity acquired post-vaccination lasts much longer.

Employees who have had COVID-19 may receive the vaccine as soon as they have completed their isolation period. The only exceptions are for employees who have received convalescent plasma or antibody treatments while ill. In these cases, employees should wait 90 days before obtaining the vaccine as these treatments can reduce the response to the vaccine. Employees should consult with their medical provider if they have questions or concerns.

Will there be any exemptions to the vaccination requirement?

There will be two permitted exemptions to the University’s vaccination requirement as is the case with every mandated vaccine at Suffolk University.

  • Medical: A medical exemption will be granted to students, faculty, and staff for whom receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is medically inadvisable, as well as persons who are pregnant or lactating or expressing milk for a nursing child who choose not to get vaccinated.
  • Religious: Consistent with federal and state law, an exemption will be granted to those with a sincerely held religious belief against vaccination. Employees seeking this exemption must submit documentation of their sincerely held religious objection to vaccination written in their own voice.

Employees who wish to request an exemption from the COVID vaccine for either medical or religious reasons should go to HR Service Now portal to submit their request.

What happens if I refuse to be vaccinated?

Unless an exemption is granted under a formal process for the two permitted exemptions (medical, religious), faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated.

Any employee refusing to follow the University’s safety and health protocols without a documented and approved exemption will not be able to remain on or access Suffolk’s facilities. This will not constitute an exemption to allow the employee to work remotely and will be treated as an unexcused and unapproved absence, resulting in the employee being placed on unpaid leave until the employee is in full compliance.

If I am vaccinated, do I have to wear a mask?

Face coverings must be worn by fully vaccinated individuals in certain locations. Please see the University’s Policy on face coverings.

If I am not vaccinated and have an approved exemption, are there additional safety measures needed on campus?

If you are on a Suffolk campus and have been granted an exemption, you will need to follow COVID protocols determined by guidance from public health officials and the University at that time.  You must participate in on-campus surveillance testing. You will be required to wear a face covering at all times. Counseling, Health, and Wellness (CHW) will communicate with you about the testing requirement.

If I am vaccinated, is there any limit to my movement on campus?

Suffolk will follow the mandates of the cities of Boston or Madrid and state of Massachusetts for any physical distancing and occupancy limits on our campus.

What if I don’t believe the vaccines are safe?

The following websites provide information on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine:

Which vaccine should I get?

The CDC recommends that the best COVID-19 vaccine is the first one available to you. Specific information about each of the approved vaccines is available on the CDC website.

Vaccine Documentation

What should I do with my COVID-19 Vaccine information?

Faculty and Staff

COVID vaccine information for Suffolk faculty and staff must be uploaded to the CoVerified app.

Students

COVID vaccine information for Suffolk students must be uploaded to the CHW student health portal 

Vaccination card and your second shot

From the CDC

  • At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Bring this vaccination card to your second vaccination appointment.
  • If you did not receive a COVID-19 vaccination card at your first appointment, contact the vaccination provider site where you got your first shot or your state health department to find out how you can get a card.
  • Bring your vaccination card with you to your second shot appointment so your provider can fill in the information about your second dose.
  • Keep your vaccination card in case you need it for future use. Consider taking a picture of your vaccination card after your second shot appointment as a backup copy.

See below for information about what to do if you did not receive a vaccination card or lost your card.

What should I do if I lose my COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card?

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health you have a few options:

  • Contact your healthcare provider or the location where you were vaccinated. They can print out another copy of your record.
  • Your record will also be in v-safe, if you enrolled in the program.

You can fill out an Immunization Record Request Form that goes directly to the state Department of Public Health. If you use this form, you will get a complete history of all vaccines you’ve received, not just the COVID-19 vaccine, and it can take up to 6 weeks to get your records.