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Vaccination

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Last Updated: Aug. 16, 2021

Vaccination Updates

Undergraduate students and graduate students who will be on campus this fall were required to upload their COVID-19 vaccination card to the Bentley Health Portal by Aug. 1. Failure to submit a vaccination card by this deadline may result in a delay of processing in time for the start of the semester and may cause students to be deregistered from fall classes. 

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Faculty and staff are required to receive their final vaccine dose and upload their vaccination card to the Bentley Health Portal by Aug. 24.

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FAQs for Students

Is COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for students?

Yes, Bentley University announced on May 17 that, consistent with state and federal guidance, all undergraduate students and graduate students who will be on campus this fall will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of the fall 2021 semester.

Students must upload a photo of their completed vaccination card to the Bentley Health Portal no later than Aug. 1. Students approved to arrive early must upload their card no later than two weeks before arrival on campus if arriving before Aug. 15.

Is COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for staff and faculty?

Yes. Since the COVID-19 vaccine was made available to the general public in the spring, the university strongly recommended that faculty and staff be vaccinated at their earliest opportunity. On July 27, the university announced that all faculty and staff would be required to be fully vaccinated by the start of the fall 2021 semester.

Why is Bentley requiring students to be vaccinated?

Comprehensive vaccination is an important part of ensuring a safe community and is the best way to guarantee our plans for a near-normal environment with full in-person learning, at-capacity residence halls, and in-person student engagement opportunities and interactive events.

Students are required to be vaccinated against a variety of vaccine-preventable diseases that could spread easily in the university setting. With the development of safe and effective vaccines, COVID-19 joins measles, meningitis, varicella and other diseases whose threat has been nearly eliminated because of comprehensive vaccination.

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. Additionally, students seeking a religious exemption must complete a supplemental information form online. 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.

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 COVID-19 vaccines: 

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

World Health Organization-listed COVID-19 vaccines: 

  • Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZD1222) (two doses) [also known as AZD1222, COVISHIELD™ or ChAdOx1-S] 
  • Sinopharm/BBIBP (two doses) 
  • Sinovac CoronaVac (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?

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 any of the on-campus clinics run on April 28–29, May 19–20 or June 10, contact Osco Pharmacy at 617-489-6542.

If you are unable to reach your provider, you can request your records from the Massachusetts Immunization Information System, which takes 10 days and requires a notarized form. For other states, see the list of state Immunization Information System contacts maintained by the CDC.

What can I do if I started receiving a two-dose vaccine but my second dose is scheduled for after the Aug. 1 deadline?

Upload proof of your first dose to the Bentley Health Portal as soon as you get it to ensure that there is a record that your vaccination is in progress. You must be fully vaccinated before you come to campus -- that is, your final dose must be administered and you must upload your completed documentation at least two weeks before you arrive.

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?

The university recognizes that students currently outside the United States may not be able to access accepted vaccines. We are working to provide opportunities for international students and will post information here as plans are developed.

Bentley suggests getting vaccinated at home with the vaccine that is available to you. When you arrive to campus, you will have access to the FDA/WHO approved vaccines and may decide to get a vaccine. Guidance from the CDC suggests that you should wait 28 days between your last dose of an non-FDA authorized vaccine and an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

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. 

What is the deadline?

Students must be fully vaccinated by the start of the fall term.

To meet this requirement, students must complete vaccination and upload their vaccination card to the Bentley Health Portal no later than Aug. 1.

What if I do not want to get vaccinated?

There are only three exemptions from the vaccine requirement, as listed above. There will be no other exceptions to this requirement. 

Unvaccinated individuals and those who have not yet been fully vaccinated must:

  1. Wear a face covering inside when not in a private office or room, as well as outdoors when unable to maintain six feet of physical distance.
  2. Continue to test each week in the screening testing program. 
I have medical questions about the vaccine. Who should I talk to?

People with medical questions about the vaccine should talk with their personal health care provider. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the CDC have also developed detailed FAQs about the vaccine.

I am a graduate student who was admitted after the Aug. 1 deadline. When should I upload my proof of vaccination?

Graduate students admitted after Aug. 1 will have four weeks after the date of their offer letter to upload their vaccination records or exemption form. Graduate students who are admitted after Aug. 1 should plan to attend their courses remotely until they are fully vaccinated.

FAQs for Faculty and Staff

When is the deadline for faculty and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated by the start of classes on Sept. 7. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. To meet the Sept. 7 requirement, you should receive your final vaccine dose and upload your completed vaccination card to the Bentley Health Portal by Aug. 24.

Why are faculty and staff required to be fully vaccinated?

Since students were notified of their vaccination requirement on May 17, the university has been monitoring the vaccination intentions of faculty and staff. Early surveys showed that 96% of faculty and staff intended to be fully vaccinated this summer, a level that if attained would have provided a healthy and safe environment without implementing a mandate. However, the attestation process showed by late July that fewer faculty and staff had been fully vaccinated, resulting in a lower level of vaccination than would be necessary to fully and safely reopen our campus in the fall. We must pursue every action we can to protect against community spread or outbreaks this fall, and vaccination of our students, faculty and staff is our most effective tool to do so.

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.

When was the COVID-19 vaccine mandated for faculty and staff?

Since the COVID-19 vaccine was made available to the general public in the spring, the university strongly recommended that faculty and staff be vaccinated at their earliest opportunity. On July 27, the university announced that all faculty and staff would be required to be fully vaccinated by the start of the fall 2021 semester.

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. 

When am I considered fully vaccinated?

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna vaccine requires four weeks in between doses, and the Pfizer vaccine requires three weeks. This time period should be accounted for when considering the Aug. 24 deadline to receive your final dose and upload your completed vaccination card. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine only requires one dose.

Are there any exemptions to mandatory vaccination?

Faculty and staff may file a medical or religious exemption but must do so by Aug. 24. 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.

What if I don’t get vaccinated or file a religious or medical exemption by the deadline?

Faculty or staff who have not been fully vaccinated or approved for an exemption by the deadline will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for up to 60 days as determined by the needs of the university. At the end of that period, if the employee is still not vaccinated, we will determine whether to conclude that the employee has abandoned their job.

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?

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 any of the on-campus clinics run on April 28–29, May 19–20 or June 10, contact Osco Pharmacy at 617-489-6542.

If you are unable to reach your provider, you can request your records from the Massachusetts Immunization Information System, which takes 10 days and requires a notarized form. 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 “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 May 12, 2021, all individuals age 12 and older are eligible for the 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.

Can I get the vaccine on the Bentley campus?

Three on-campus vaccination clinics were hosted for Bentley, students, faculty and staff in the spring and summer. Vaccines are now widely available and community members can search VaxFinder.mass.gov for a listing of all vaccination locations in Massachusetts. 

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, you are considered fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be tested 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 14 days.

Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated 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, 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 now 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?

In agreement with the CDC travel guidelines, Bentley strongly advises that students participating in 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 strongly encouraged 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. We are monitoring the rapidly evolving developments on these issues very closely. The Cronin Office of International Education will continue to communicate with study abroad students throughout the pre-departure process.  

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 Aug. 1. However, if you are unable to access an FDA or WHO-accepted vaccine in your home country, or unable to complete a two-dose series, you will be allowed to enter campus but will need to be vaccinated with an FDA/WHO-accepted vaccine upon arrival to Bentley. 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 Aug. 1. However, if you are unable to access an FDA or WHO-accepted vaccine in your home country, or unable to complete a two-dose series, you will be allowed to enter campus as long as you have started the vaccination process. 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. More information will be forthcoming

Is it safe to mix different brands of vaccine?

If you are receiving a two-dose vaccine such as Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford or Sinopharm, you should get a second dose that is the same as your first dose. According to the CDC, the safety and efficacy of a mixed-product series have not been evaluated.

If you are unable to get the second dose of a two-dose vaccine not available in the United States before arriving on campus, you will need to restart the vaccination process with an FDA-accepted vaccine. People vaccinated with a non-FDA authorized vaccine 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.

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.

What if I can get the first dose of a non-FDA or WHO-approved vaccine at home, but I would need to leave for Bentley before receiving a second dose?

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. Bentley requires that you complete your vaccine series and upload a scan or photo of your vaccination card by Aug. 1. If you are unable to access a FDA- or WHO-accepted vaccine in your home country, you will be allowed to enter campus but will need to be vaccinated with a FDA/WHO-accepted vaccine upon arrival to Bentley. We will help you in this process. More information will be forthcoming.

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 fall 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 Sept. 7, 2021, the first day of classes. 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.

What if I won’t be here three weeks from now?

Keep the vaccination card you will receive at the vaccination clinic. Take a picture of it and upload it to the Bentley health portal for back-up. And then bring it with you to the site where you are going to obtain your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

I already had my first dose. Can I get my second dose on campus?

For those who are seeking a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, you must bring your CDC card as proof of receiving the first dose and that the timeline is correct. The Osco sign-up system does not allow for just a second dose to be booked so those individuals would need to schedule an appointment similar to a first dose. 

What if I can’t get my second dose in 21 days?

The second dose of the Pfizer vaccines should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible, but not earlier than recommended. However, second doses administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are still considered valid. If it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval and a delay in vaccination is unavoidable, the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. Currently, only limited data are available on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. Read more here.

How will I feel after getting my COVID vaccine?

Students may be concerned about side effects of the vaccine while in the midst of exams, for example, and may want to take side effects into consideration when deciding which day to schedule an appointment. Possible side effects include: 

  • Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where you got the shot 
  • Tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea 

These side effects usually start within a day or two after getting the vaccine. Side effects might affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. 

Side effects after your second shot may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days. 

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