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COVID-19

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Vaccination

Last Updated: April 29, 2022

FAQs for Students

Is COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for students?

Yes, Bentley University requires that, consistent with state and federal guidance, all returning and incoming students, faculty and staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, those who are eligible for booster shots as detailed below are required to receive a booster in order to be up to date on their vaccination.  

Are booster shots required?

Booster shots will be required for all students, faculty and staff. The timeline for receiving a booster shot depends on when you received the final dose of your COVID vaccine, so it will be different for everyone. As a reminder, you are eligible to receive your booster shot:

  • Five months after your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or a two-dose vaccine that is listed by the World Health Organization, or
  • Two months after you received the single-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Shots are available at local pharmacies and public vaccination locations. Find a booster shot by searching at Vaccines.gov or texting your ZIP code to 438829. If you are in Massachusetts, you can also find a booster location at vaxfinder.mass.gov.

Are there exemptions to mandatory vaccination?

There are only three exemptions:

1. Medical: a contraindication requiring documentation from your health care provider;

2. Religious: vaccination would violate a sincerely held religious belief, which must be declared in writing following the same process used to seek exemption from new student vaccination requirements;

Students seeking a medical or religious exemption must complete the Request for Exemption from Vaccination and Immunization due to Medical/Religious Reasons form located on the Health Center’s Student Health Forms & Policies page. In the event of an outbreak on campus of any of the vaccine-preventable diseases, including COVID-19, unvaccinated students may be excluded from campus and classes until the period of communicability is passed. The university will not be responsible for any costs associated with missed classes or exclusion from housing during the period of communicability and no refund will be made.

3. Additionally, students in remote graduate programs who are fully remote and never come to campus are exempt from the requirement. To declare your intention to be fully remote, please complete the Exemption Form for Fully Remote Graduate Students found on the Student Health Forms and Policies page and upload the form to the Bentley Health Portal in lieu of proof of vaccination.

Can I get a booster shot if I was vaccinated outside the United States?

According to the CDC, you can get the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot if you were vaccinated outside the United States, are 16 years or older and you either: 

  • Received all the recommended doses of a World Health Organization emergency use listing (WHO-EUL) COVID-19 vaccine, not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); or 

  • Completed a mix-and-match series composed of any combination of FDA-approved, FDA-authorized or WHO-EUL COVID-19 vaccines. 

What is the deadline?

Students must be fully vaccinated before arriving on campus.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are accepted by Bentley?

At this time the university recognizes those vaccines that are authorized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines: 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (two doses) [also listed by WHO as BioNtech tozinameran-COMIRNATY®] 
  • Moderna (two doses) [also known as mRNA-1273, SPIKEVAX]
  • Janssen (Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson) (one dose) [also known as Ad26.COV2-S]

World Health Organization-listed COVID-19 vaccines, including:  

  • Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZD1222) (two doses) [also known as AZD1222, VAXZEVRIA, COVISHIELD™ or ChAdOx1-S] 
  • COVAXIN® (BBV152) (two doses)
  • Sinopharm/BBIBP (two doses) 
  • Sinovac CoronaVac (two doses)
  • COVOVAX™ or NUVAXOVID™ (NVX-CoV2373) (two doses) 

We will add to this list if other vaccines are recognized by public health authorities.

What can I do if I misplaced or did not receive a Vaccination Record Card?

If you received the vaccination in Massachusetts, look up your vaccinations and download a COVID-19 vaccination verification credential here. Otherwise, contact the provider where you received your COVID-19 vaccination. They can look up your vaccination history and recreate a Vaccination Record Card for you. 

If you were vaccinated at an on-campus clinic, contact Osco Pharmacy at 617-489-6542.

For other states, see the list of state Immunization Information System contacts maintained by the CDC.

I’m outside the United States and cannot access a vaccine recognized by U.S. public health authorities or the WHO. What are my options?

Vaccines are now available throughout most of the world, though the university recognizes that students in selected countries may not be able to access accepted vaccines. International students are expected to meet the vaccination mandate prior to arrival on campus. Students coming from a selected list of countries designated by the CDC as having limited COVID-19 vaccine availability will be allowed to arrive on campus and immediately begin vaccination.

International students coming from a country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability must upload proof of their first vaccine dose by January 24, 2022, and their second dose by February 21, 2022. Students who do not meet the February 21, 2022 deadline to upload both vaccine doses will be excluded from campus and classes until documentation of a second dose is uploaded and reviewed. The university will not be responsible for any costs associated with missed classes or exclusion from housing after the deadline and no refund will be made.

International students coming from a country with limited or no COVID-19 booster availability must complete the booster within two weeks of their arrival in the U.S. 

How do I upload my proof of vaccination?

Enter the details of your vaccination and upload a photo or scan of your completed vaccination card to the Bentley Health Portal. Make sure your vaccination card clearly identifies your name, date of birth, and date(s) of vaccines dose(s).

Click on “Immunizations” and manually enter your vaccination dates by month first, then day, then year, from your signed and dated vaccination card. Then, click on “Upload” to upload your vaccination card to the portal. Faxed or mailed documents are not accepted. 

I am a graduate student who was admitted after the vaccination deadline. When should I upload my proof of vaccination?

Graduate students will have four weeks after the date of their offer letter to upload their vaccination records or exemption form. Graduate students should plan to attend their courses remotely until they are fully vaccinated.

FAQs for Faculty and Staff

Is COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for faculty and staff?

Yes, faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Newly hired faculty and staff must show proof of vaccination in accordance with the deadlines established in their offer letter or contract.

Are booster shots required?

Booster shots will be required for all students, faculty and staff for the spring semester. The timeline for receiving a booster shot depends on when you received the final dose of your COVID vaccine, so it will be different for everyone. As a reminder, you are eligible to receive your booster shot:

  • Five months after your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or a two-dose vaccine that is listed by the World Health Organization, or
  • Two months after you received the single-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Shots are available at local pharmacies and public vaccination locations. Find a booster shot by searching at Vaccines.gov or texting your ZIP code to 438829. If you are in Massachusetts, you can also find a booster location at vaxfinder.mass.gov.


The deadline for faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster shot and upload their updated CDC vaccination card to the Bentley Health Portal is Feb. 24. Faculty and staff who are not eligible for a booster shot by the deadline will have two weeks from the time they first become eligible.

How can I access a vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is free and widely available in Massachusetts and across the country. To find a location or specific vaccine, visit vaxfinder.mass.gov.

How do I upload proof of my vaccination?

Enter the details of your vaccination and upload a photo or scan of your completed vaccination card to the Bentley Health Portal. Make sure your vaccination card clearly identifies your name, date of birth, and date(s) of vaccines dose(s).

Click on “Immunizations” and manually enter your vaccination dates by month first, then day, then year, from your signed and dated vaccination card. Then, click on “Upload” to upload your vaccination card to the portal. Faxed or mailed documents are not accepted. 

Are there any exemptions to mandatory vaccination?

Newly hired faculty and staff may seek a vaccination exemption in accordance with the timeline established in their offer letter or contract. A medical exemption must include documentation from your health care provider. A religious exemption must be declared in writing following a process similar to the one students use to seek exemption from vaccination requirements when they first enter the university. There are no other exemptions to this requirement. To request an exemption, fill out this form and email it to your Human Resource business partner. You can find your business partner’s email here. A decision may take up to two weeks. 

What happens if I get an approved medical or religious exemption?

Unvaccinated faculty or staff with approved medical or religious exemptions will be required to wear face coverings when not in a private office or outdoors, must test each week in the screening testing program, and should maintain appropriate physical distance. Unvaccinated faculty or staff with approved medical or religious exemptions are required to be on campus as deemed necessary by their supervisors or department chairs and may not work fully remotely.

How many of our students, faculty and staff have been fully vaccinated?

A dashboard that shows the vaccination rates for our students, faculty and staff can be found here.

If I don't want to get vaccinated, can I work remotely?

All faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated, regardless of how often they are on campus. Working or teaching fully remotely while unvaccinated is not an option.

Will vendors and contractors who work on campus be required to be vaccinated?

Any vendors or contractors working on the Bentley campus will be required to be vaccinated or wear face coverings, test each week in the screening testing program and maintain appropriate physical distance.

What can I do if I misplaced or did not receive a Vaccination Record Card?

If you received the vaccination in Massachusetts, look up your vaccinations and download a COVID-19 vaccination verification credential here. Otherwise, contact the provider where you received your COVID-19 vaccination. They can look up your vaccination history and recreate a Vaccination Record Card for you. 

If you were vaccinated at an on-campus clinic, contact Osco Pharmacy at 617-489-6542.

For other states, see the list of state Immunization Information System contacts maintained by the CDC.

General Vaccination FAQs

What does it mean to be “up to date?”

Someone is considered “up to date” with COVID-19 vaccination: 

  • Within two months after receiving the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine; 

  • Within five months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COMIRNATY, Moderna SPIKEVAX, or a World Health Organization-listed two-dose vaccine; or 

  • Immediately after receiving a booster dose. 

The criteria to be considered “up to date” vary with age for people under age 18. Please see the CDC guidance for details.

What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated?"

Someone is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Janssen/J&J).

Can I get vaccinated if I am currently sick with COVID-19?

Per the CDC, no. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation. Those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

As of November 2, 2021, all individuals age 5 and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Do I need to get vaccinated if I've already had COVID-19?

Per the CDC, 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 again with the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

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 which treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

How much does it cost to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is free to patients, provided at no cost by the federal government. Entities providing vaccine administration cannot charge recipients but can seek reimbursement from health insurance companies. A vaccination site may ask you for health insurance information but should never ask you for a credit card, cash or other form of payment.

Do I still need to quarantine if I've been fully vaccinated?

If you have gotten two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine more than 14 days ago and less than five months ago (two months ago if you received Janssen/Johnson & Johnson), you are considered fully vaccinated and up to date. If you received a booster dose, you are immediately considered up to date. 

Up-to-date people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, as their risk of infection is low. They should closely monitor themselves for symptoms for 10 days and a test is recommended after day 5.

Although the risk that fully vaccinated and up-to-date people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated and up-to-date person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must isolate and get evaluated and tested for COVID-19. 

We continue to closely follow the CDC and Mass DPH guidelines:
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Can I get the vaccine if I am in quarantine?

According to the CDC, if you’ve been identified as a close contact of a positive case and directed to quarantine, you should wait until your quarantine period is over before seeking a vaccine.  

Can antibody tests prove that I have immunity to COVID-19?

Blood tests for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will not be accepted in place of vaccination. In general, this test is not recommended to determine immunity or protection against COVID-19 and is not recommended following vaccination or illness to prove immunity. Proof of vaccination is still required for people who have been infected with COVID-19 and for those with positive antibody tests.

I just got vaccinated against a disease other than COVID-19. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine as well?

Per the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days. You can find out more from the CDC website.

I am planning to study abroad. Am I required to get the COVID-19 vaccination?

Yes, Bentley requires that students participating in summer, semester or academic year study abroad programs be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of their program. Study abroad students are ambassadors who have an individual role to play in the global cooperation required to end the pandemic.

Students who are vaccinated will likely have greater freedom of movement in their host country. Study abroad students are required to get vaccinated not only to protect themselves and their host community against COVID-19, but also to avoid the likelihood of mandatory quarantine upon entry or other last-minute travel restrictions imposed by foreign governments.

Students who are not vaccinated may be subject to mandatory isolation or quarantine for an extended period of time at their own expense in a location not of their choosing. Please be aware that it is possible that some countries may require proof of vaccination in order to gain entry. Some host institutions abroad, likewise, may require proof of vaccination for enrollment in their courses. Additionally, it is likely that some airlines or countries may require a negative COVID-19 test for travel.

Bentley recommends that students who are vaccinated carry written or digital proof of vaccination when traveling abroad. The Cronin Office of International Education will continue to communicate with study abroad students throughout the pre-departure process.  

I am planning to study abroad on a Bentley faculty-led international course or Global Business Experience (GBE). What is my requirement?

All students, faculty and staff participating in a Bentley faculty-led international course or GBE must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than 30 days prior to departure. There are no medical or religious exemptions. Upon acceptance into a faculty-led international course or GBE, the Cronin Office of International Education will confirm participants’ vaccination status via their Bentley record and contact anyone that does not have proof of vaccination on file. Due to the impracticalities of quarantine, restricted access to sites for unvaccinated travelers, the CDC obligation to quarantine upon return to the U.S., and to minimize health risk to participants and our worldwide community, there are no exceptions to this policy.

International Student FAQs

I am an international student living in university housing. Do I need to be fully vaccinated (2 weeks out from last dose of COVID-19 vaccine) before I arrive at Bentley?

Bentley requires that you complete your vaccine series and upload your completed vaccination card by Dec. 21. Students coming from selected countries with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability will be allowed to enter campus but will need to be vaccinated with an FDA/WHO-accepted vaccine upon arrival to Bentley, uploading proof of their first dose by Jan. 24, 2022 and completing both doses by Feb. 21, 2022. The Bentley Health Center is organizing on-campus availability of vaccine on significant move-in days and will help students to obtain vaccination off campus on other days.

I am an international student living off campus. Do I need to be fully vaccinated (2 weeks out from last dose of COVID-19 vaccine) before I arrive at Bentley?

Bentley requires that you complete your vaccine series and upload all documentation by Dec. 21. Students coming from selected countries with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability will be allowed to enter campus as long as they have started the vaccination process and upload proof of their first dose by Jan. 24, 2022 and final dose by Feb. 21, 2022. COVID-19 vaccines are readily available in many pharmacies in the U.S. International students are encouraged to begin vaccination as early as possible and must receive at least one dose or have an approved medical deferral before being allowed on campus.

Will students who are not fully vaccinated have additional requirements or restrictions on campus?

Students who are in the process of vaccination but not yet fully vaccinated will be required to participate in regular screening tests until fully vaccinated. The CDC currently advises people not yet fully vaccinated to wear a face covering and observe physical distancing. The university will continue to follow the most current CDC guidance at the start of the fall term.

Students with a medical or religious exemption who are not vaccinated will also be required to participate in regular screening tests until further notice.

What happens if I have already received a vaccine that is not on the list of FDA or WHO-accepted vaccines?

You will need to be revaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-accepted vaccine to be on campus. If you are unable to access an FDA- or WHO-accepted vaccine in your home country, you will be allowed to enter campus but you will need to be revaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-accepted vaccine upon arrival to Bentley. We will assist you in this process. More information will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, we recommend uploading your current vaccine documentation to the Bentley Health Portal. If that vaccine type becomes FDA- or WHO-accepted prior to your arrival at Bentley and you have uploaded the documentation, you will have fulfilled the COVID-19 immunization requirement.

What happens if I only have access to vaccines not accepted by the FDA or WHO? Should I delay getting the vaccine offered in my home country and wait until I arrive at Bentley?

COVID-19 continues to spread globally. Vaccination slows transmission and prevents development of viral illness. Therefore, it is recommended that you get vaccinated as soon as possible with any vaccine readily available to you and upload documentation of your immunization to the Bentley Health Portal. You will be allowed to be enter campus but you will need to be revaccinated with an FDA or WHO-accepted vaccine upon arrival to Bentley. We will assist you in this process.

Is it safe to get a second type of vaccine?

People vaccinated with a non-WHO accepted vaccines can still receive a second type of COVID-19 vaccine. The minimum interval between doses of different types of COVID-19 vaccines is 28 days. You can read more about the CDC’s guidance here.

I am currently at home and recently recovered from COVID-19. Public health authorities are advising me to wait to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Can I receive an exemption from the vaccination deadline?

Once you arrive in the United States, there is no reason to delay receiving a U.S.-authorized vaccine, except in the rare case that you received certain treatments. The CDC advises that, except in specific circumstances, someone recovered from COVID-19 may safely receive a U.S.-authorized vaccine as soon as their isolation period ends (at least 10 days after first symptoms or positive test).

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma or were advised by your health care provider to delay vaccination, you should wait the prescribed delay period before getting a COVID-19 vaccine and will be considered temporarily medically exempt from the Bentley vaccination requirement. You will need to complete the Request for Exemption from Vaccination and Immunization due to Medical/Religious Reasons form, including documentation from your health care provider explaining the reason for the deferral. Talk to your health care provider if you are unsure which treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Can I arrive at Bentley later in the spring semester so that I can complete my COVID vaccine series in my home country?

The latest date for new international students (who hold an F-1 or J-1 visa) to arrive at Bentley is Jan. 31, 2022. Please contact the Center for International Students and Scholars at Bentley (ga_ciss@bentley.edu) if you are not able to arrive by this date.

When will I need to show proof of vaccination?

On Oct. 25, 2021, the United States issued a proclamation regarding the resumption of global travel. Based on this proclamation, as of Nov. 8 2021, the government has lifted certain country-specific limitations on entry to the U.S. AND now requires that visitors provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S. from any other country. Acceptable types of proof of COVID-19 vaccination can be found here. If you are traveling soon and will need to re-enter the U.S., you must carry a verifiable vaccination record (digital or paper) with you. Please note that this does not replace the PCR testing requirement, which is still required of all travelers.

What if I cannot get vaccinated before I come to the US?

There are limited exceptions to this new vaccine requirement for individuals entering the U.S. for the first time from countries with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability (see list of countries here).

Resources for International Students