College Vaccination Requirements

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Columbia to become COVID vaccine site, require student vaccination for the Fall 2021 semester, which begins Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Students who live in the residence halls will be required to be vaccinated before they move in for the Fall semester.

Columbia College Chicago will require Fall 2021 students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and the college expects to start offering vaccinations on campus over the next two weeks. The college anticipates its initial batch of doses to be the Pfizer vaccine. Future doses may be Moderna or Pfizer. Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is currently suspended by federal and local health authorities.
Vaccination for faculty and staff will not be required, but will be strongly encouraged.
Following formal approval as a vaccination site by the State of Illinois last week, the college is working with both the Chicago Department of Public Health and Illinois Department of Public Health on receiving doses, some of which we have been told could arrive as early as the week of April 19.
Dose availability will be limited on campus; the college will receive fewer doses than it has students and employees. It is strongly encouraged that anyone who currently has access to the vaccine or has an existing appointment elsewhere, proceed with getting the vaccine through a non-campus provider.
In order to receive the vaccine on campus, you will need to sign up to be notified of vaccine appointments via VAXQ.

See below for more information on the VAXQ process.
The categories of individuals who can sign up include:

  • Students currently enrolled in the Spring 2021 semester
  • Full-time and part-time faculty who are currently teaching in the Spring 2021 semester or scheduled to teach in Summer 2021 or Fall 2021 semesters
  • Staff 

In the coming weeks we expect to expand availability to students enrolled in the Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 semesters.
Columbia expects to receive vaccines that must be administered in two doses. Employees and students must be able to receive both doses on campus. If you plan on leaving Chicago or the residence halls, you must be able to come back to campus to receive your second dose.
Be advised that in many parts of Illinois and the country, you will not be able to receive a second dose from a provider if you did not get your first dose from that same provider.

Columbia College, per City order, cannot give second doses to individuals who received their first dose through another provider.

Any student who arrives not vaccinated will still be able to attend class, but will be required to both begin the vaccination process and test a minimum of once a week when on campus until the vaccination process is complete.
With some exceptions for international students who are unable to receive the vaccine before arriving on campus, no student can move into the residence halls until they have completed the full vaccination cycle, which is two weeks after having received the second vaccine dose.
All employees who are not vaccinated will be required to test at minimum, once a week for every week they are on campus during the fall semester. Employees such as Teaching Artists working with the Center for Creative Arts Partnership will continue to comply with CPS testing and vaccination guidelines. 
Information on how to upload vaccination verification for employees who have received their vaccination from an off-campus site will be announced in coming weeks. Columbia is now accepting off-campus COVID-19 vaccination records from students via MedProctor and can find instructions for submitting their records on the Immunization website.
International students already vaccinated in another country with a vaccine not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the only three vaccines approved by the USFDA are Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson), will not be required to be re-vaccinated, but vaccination will be made available to them. The college’s health experts at Rush University Medical Center have advised the college that it is safe for a person vaccinated with another vaccine to be re-vaccinated with one of the existing USFDA-approved vaccines.
International students who arrive without any vaccination from another country will be required to begin a vaccination course upon arrival to campus.
Note that, beginning Monday, April 19 all Illinois residents, 16 years of age and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as the state and city enter Phase 2.
Vaccination is not required for anyone to finish the Spring 2021 semester or for the summer semester.
When you sign up for vaccination at Columbia via VAXQ, you will be asked to enter necessary information and a preference as to the time of day for your vaccination. When doses are available, you will receive an email and text with an assigned appointment day and time. If you have a conflict and cannot make that appointment, there will be a number to call for you to get an alternate appointment.
The college will be under strict rules to distribute vaccine doses, and failure to distribute doses before they spoil will mean the college may not be able to continue as a vaccination site. We therefore request everyone’s cooperation in only signing up for appointments you can keep and in notifying us via the VAXQ system if you cannot make your appointment so doses can still be used efficiently and be made accessible to those who need one.
Anyone who has been vaccinated will still need to follow the college’s COVID-19 guidelines as outlined in the Together, Columbia site which includes mask wearing, social distancing, and frequent hand washing and/or sanitizing.
If you live in Chicago, you can sign up for Chi COVID Coach to receive information on when and how you can get vaccinated, besides at Columbia. If you live in a community that was greatly impacted by COVID-19, you can schedule an appointment through the City of Chicago at 312-746-4835. For more information on vaccinations in Chicago, visit

Illinoisans who reside outside of the City of Chicago can schedule an appointment through the Illinois Department of Public Health’s new Vaccine Appointment Call Center. The number is 833-621-1284. For more details on locations, visit the state’s vaccination location website.

The vaccine is expected to be available nationally by early May. Out-of-state students who desire to take the vaccine – and are unable to access it in Illinois before they leave– are advised to check with their home jurisdictions.
Thank you for your continued cooperation as we work to promote the health of the campus community. We look forward to a successful completion to the spring semester and even more successful semesters ahead.
Please direct any questions you may have regarding this announcement to

Ron Sodini
Associate Vice President of Security
Co-Chair, Incident Assessment Task Force

Laurent Pernot
Chief of Staff
Co-Chair, Incident Assessment Task Force