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Ohio University COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Ohio University requires that every student, faculty, and staff member be vaccinated against COVID-19.  
Several factors significantly influenced the University’s decision to require vaccinations, including full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, the emergence of the more highly infectious delta Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, and the possibility of breakthrough infections.  

All OHIO students, faculty and staff at all locations must be fully vaccinated by November 15, 2021. For vaccines that require two doses, both doses must be complete by this date. This applies to all employees, including those working remotely and all students except those enrolled exclusively in fully online programs and coursework who will not access University facilities on any campus in person.  

There will be an opportunity to apply for an exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical reasons or for reasons of conscience, including ethical and moral belief or sincerely held religious beliefs. 

All students must be vaccinated or granted an exemption in order to participate in any spring semester in-person activities, including face-to-face instruction and residence life, at any location. 

Vaccination Requirement FAQs

Accepted COVID-19 Vaccines

Ohio University recognizes the following vaccines under this policy:

  • Pfizer (two dose)  
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (one dose)  
  • Moderna (two dose)  
  • Vaccines currently approved under a WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL)  

How to Get Vaccinated  

There is no cost for the COVID-19 vaccines, and they are easy to get either by appointment or at a walk-in clinic.  

Additional details about vaccine availability can be found on our vaccine distribution web page.

Providing Proof of Vaccination  

Students, faculty, and staff will register proof of vaccination through the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program.  

  • If you have already selected the Vaccination Pathway and uploaded your vaccine card, thank you. No further action is necessary (unless a booster becomes necessary).  
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you are required to select the Weekly Testing Pathway until you are fully vaccinated. 

If you already selected the Weekly Testing Pathway, after you have completed your vaccination, you can change your selection to the Vaccination Pathway by using the link provided in your original pathway confirmation email, or by contacting COVIDoperations@ohio.edu for a link to make the change.

Bobcats Get Vaxxed: Beat the Deadline

OHIO COVID Operations has launched a new incentive program to help our community get vaccinated before the November 15 deadline. Ohio University is offering incentives for newly vaccinated students, faculty, and staff from September 10 through October 29:

  • Any OHIO employee who has received a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine or both doses of a two-dose vaccine after August 31 will receive $100.*
  • Each week the University will conduct a drawing for eligible students (those who have received a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine or both doses of a two-dose vaccine after August 31), selecting 100 students per week to receive $100* in Bobcat Cash.
  • Sororities and fraternities that achieve 90 percent vaccination among members will receive a $500 contribution to a charity of their choice.
  • Residence halls that achieve 95 percent vaccination will be invited a fall-themed block party.

Get details on the Bobcats Get Vaxxed incentive program

FAQ

Why is the University requiring COVID-19 vaccination? 

Vaccines are our best protection against COVID-19 and will help end the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, the University has made data-driven, science-based decisions with the safety and health of our campus communities in mind. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, we now have a powerful tool to maintain health and safety on our campuses and limit disruption to our learning.

Why didn’t you announce the requirement before classes started?

OHIO was not able to require the vaccine before classes began because the Ohio General Assembly’s passage of Ohio Revised Code 3792.04 prohibits public universities from requiring a vaccine that does not have full FDA approval. The FDA did not grant full approval of the Pfizer vaccine until August 23.

What is the deadline for being vaccinated to meet the requirement? 

All OHIO students, faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated by November 15, 2021. To meet the vaccination requirement, individuals should have a first shot by October 15 and their second shot (if they are receiving a two-dose vaccine) by November 15. If they are seeking an exemption, they must do so by November 1 to allow time for application review.  

Which COVID-19 vaccines qualify for this requirement? 

Ohio University recognizes the following vaccines under this policy:  

  • Pfizer (two dose)  
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (one dose)  
  • Moderna (two dose)  
  • Vaccines currently approved under a WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL)  

How to Get Vaccinated

What if I do not get either a COVID-19 vaccine or an approved exemption by the November 15, 2021, deadline? 
  • Students: While students who fail to complete their vaccination or receive exemption approval may complete the fall semester, all students must be vaccinated or granted an exemption in order to participate in any spring semester in-person activities, including face-to-face instruction and residence life, at any location. New enrollees will be subject to the same vaccination requirements in order to participate in in-person classes, live in university residence halls or otherwise take part in in-person activities.  
  • Faculty and staff:  Beginning January 10, 2022, faculty and staff who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or who do not have an approved exemption may be subject to progressive discipline. 
Does the deadline affect a student’s enrollment this fall semester (fall 2021)?

No. Students who do not submit proof of their vaccine or an approved exemption by the November 15 deadline still may complete fall semester. However, beginning spring semester 2022, unvaccinated students who have not received an exemption will be ineligible to participate in in-person activities, including attending in-person classes or living in the residence halls.

What if I have to miss class or work due to side effects of receiving the vaccine? 

COVID-related illness is a legitimate university absence. Your instructors or supervisors will work with you to manage your academic or work requirements if your vaccine appointment or side effects impact your ability to attend class or work.

Who will have access to my vaccination data? 

The COVID-19 Testing Pathway survey used to collect your vaccination information is HIPAA compliant, and data are stored in a HIPAA-compliant electronic drive. Individual vaccination data will be used only if needed for compliance measures and for public health purposes such as contact tracing.

I am an employee working remotely. Does this policy apply to me? 

Yes. The vaccine requirement applies to all employees, including those working remotely. The health of our University relies on the health of every individual employee.

I am taking all my classes virtually. Does this policy apply to me? 

This policy applies to any student with an on-campus presence or who is participating in in-person University activities, and includes students who are enrolled in a campus-based program but taking classes online. The policy does not apply to students enrolled exclusively in fully online programs and coursework who will not access University facilities on any campus in person.

Are volunteers, campus visitors, and guests required to be vaccinated? 

The vaccine requirement does not apply to volunteers, campus visitors, and guests, but the University strongly encourages that everyone be vaccinated against COVID-19. Everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, is required to wear masks when indoors on all OHIO campuses.

Exemptions

What exemptions are allowed under this policy? 

Students, faculty and staff can apply for an exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical reasons or for reasons of conscience, including ethical and moral belief or sincerely held religious beliefs.    

What is required if I am seeking a medical exemption?

Faculty, staff, postdoctoral/postgraduate trainees, and students seeking a medical exemption must access, apply and submit supporting documentation. The medical exemption request must include a signed letter from a medical provider on their practice’s letterhead confirming the basis for the request and supporting documentation (Please note that a medical provide- wer note alone requesting an exemption will not be sufficient information for review). The uUniversity’s COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Exemption Review Committee will review the request.  

The Medical Exemption Review Committee may require additional information to complete its review and the process may take more than two weeks. Medical exemptions may be granted on a temporary basis and are subject to reassessment.  

Reasons for a medical exemption include:  

  • Documented history of severe allergic reaction to a component of each currently available COVID-19 vaccine.  

  • Documented history of severe or immediate-type hypersensitivity allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, and separate contraindication to other available formulations.  

  • Receiving immunosuppressive (weakens the immune system) treatment and advised by a medical provider to defer vaccination until a future date.  

  • Immunocompromised individuals including those who have recent (within the past three to six months) hematopoietic or solid organ transplant.  

  • Another medical condition where it is advised by a medical provider to forgo vaccination or to defer vaccination until a future date.  

Examples of conditions that are NOT considered for a medical exemption include:  

  • History of severe allergic reactions to foods, oral medications, latex, pets, insects, and environmental triggers.  

  • History of immunocompromising conditions where the vaccine may be less effective.  

  • Fear of needles.  

  • A history of vaccine side effects or general avoidance of vaccines.  

Other considerations:  

  • People who were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma or who were diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.  

  • A history of COVID-19 infection or positive antibody screen is not considered a substitute for vaccination.  

What does “reasons of conscience" mean?

Reasons of conscience include sincerely held ethical, moral or religious basis for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19.  

What is required if I am seeking an exemption for reasons of conscience?

Your request for an exemption must include an original statement explaining why your belief is incompatible with vaccination. A committee from University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance, made up of representatives from University Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion, Student Affairs, and a faculty representative, will review and consider requests.

If I receive an exemption from OHIO, does it apply to my internship, clinical or practicum?

No. If you are participating in an internship, practicum or other similar learning experience you must work directly with that organization to comply with its requirements. OHIO’s exemption will not extend to any external organizations.

How do I apply for an exemption? 

Exemption applications can be submitted through the Vaccine Exemption Form.

Will I have to follow more stringent health and safety protocols if I receive an exemption? 

Yes. Those who receive an exemption must participate in regular asymptomatic COVID-19 testing and must wear a mask indoors at all times regardless of other masking requirements. These conditions may change as warranted by public health conditions.

Reporting

If I have already been vaccinated, how do I report my vaccine information? 

Vaccines will be recorded through the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program. If you have already selected the Vaccination Pathway and uploaded proof of vaccination, no further action is needed. If you are not fully vaccinated, you are required to select the Weekly Testing Pathway until you are fully vaccinated. If you previously selected the Weekly Testing Pathway and would like to change your selection after you are fully vaccinated, you can change your pathway submission using the unique link you received in your Testing Pathway confirmation email. The link also is available by email request to COVIDoperations@ohio.edu.

I already reported my vaccine information to comply with the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program. Do I have to do it again? 

If you already selected the Vaccination Pathway and uploaded proof of vaccination through the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program, no further action is needed.