The promise of a safe and fulfilling Fall 2021 semester filled with in-person classes, events, and social interactions grows daily thanks to the commitment of students, faculty, and staff to keep our community safe and healthy by following public health guidelines. We are all looking forward to the excitement and energy of a new fall semester — gathering face to face with colleagues and friends on campus, attending arts and athletics events, and learning and engaging with each other.
We can have a fall semester full of all of these things and more if we take one final step together: Get the vax today!
You’ll find resources below that can connect you with vaccines in your community right now, before you arrive on campus, as well as resources for when the semester begins. Get the vax today to help ensure a more healthy semester ahead!
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ
Updated June 14, 2021
The University’s Plan
How did the University reach its decision not to require vaccines before Fall semester 2021?
As the University continues to make important pandemic-related decisions together, leaders remain grounded in guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health, the infection and vaccination rates of our campus’ surrounding communities, and insights from the University’s own internationally renowned public health and medical experts. This collective information and expertise has kept on-campus COVID-19 rates at some of the lowest among peers and has guided the University, along with extensive consultation with you, to decide that the University will not require that students, faculty, and staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of the fall semester.
With whom did University leaders consult to arrive at this decision?
University leaders consulted widely with the University’s senior leaders and governance groups, as well as medical and public health experts.
What reassures University leaders that vaccination rates on University campuses will be high by fall?
Enhancing access to vaccines and encouraging the University community’s participation in vaccination efforts is an effective way to achieve a safe fall semester. This approach is very similar to the MTest strategy and implementation last fall, which proved that clear messaging can be as effective, if not more effective, than mandatory policies. In fact, MDH did not confirm a single cluster or outbreak in any University of Minnesota environment since the start of the peacetime emergency.
Many members of the University community have already answered the call to vaccinate. A survey of Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff conducted in May 2021 showed 96% of respondents had received at least one vaccine dose or reported plans to be vaccinated, while 84% reported they were fully vaccinated. This is a great start that can continue across all U of M campus communities, and is also an important factor in assessing our safety and the safety of those we care for.
Did the University take into account community members with children or those who are immunocompromised?
Yes, in fact many of these issues were discussed during the extensive governance consultation process. However, similar to every step of our pandemic response, it is challenging to address everyone’s individual circumstance through any single University-wide approach. Vaccination is no different. It is a complex and personal issue. For example, among parents of children younger than 12, the childhood risks of COVID-19 continue to be a reality. However, tests of the vaccine are underway for children as young as 6 months old, and FDA approval of a vaccine for ages 5 through 11 is expected in early fall. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) on the Twin Cities campus, or the appropriate campus resources on the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester campuses, can help employees who need to continue to work remotely due to an underlying medical condition.
Where can I be vaccinated at the University of Minnesota?
On the Twin Cities campus Boynton Health administers vaccines. Starting on June 14, 2021, if you are a student, faculty, or staff member seeking a vaccine appointment, call 612-625-3222. If you are already at Boynton for an appointment, visit the Patient Assistance desk on the main (3rd) floor. Contact Boynton nurse line at (612) 625-7900 with any clinical questions.
On the Duluth campus, the availability of the vaccine through the summer months is at hospitals, clinics. and pharmacies in the Duluth community. Please review detailed information here. For fall, Health Services is exploring the ability to offer the vaccine to students through clinic appointments.
Are dependents allowed to get vaccinated through U of M clinics?
No. Dependents are not able to be vaccinated at Boynton Health at this time. The Duluth campus Health Services clinic serves only current University of Minnesota Duluth students.
Can I get vaccinated at a U of M clinic if I am under 18?
No. Boynton Health is only offering the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration has only granted emergency use in individuals 18 years of age or older.
Can I get vaccinated at Boynton Health on the Twin Cities campus even if I study or work at another U of M campus?
Yes. If you are a student, faculty member, staff member, retiree, alumni or a current Boynton Health patient, you can be vaccinated at Boynton Health. If you are not a student or currently registered as a Boynton Health patient you will need to call (612) 625-3222 to register for an appointment. Contact the Boynton Health nurse line at (612) 625-7900 with any clinical questions.
I’m an international student or scholar coming to the U.S. later this year. Should I be vaccinated now or wait until I arrive in the U.S.?
While the University does not require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated, vaccination is encouraged. We recommend that everyone get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you cannot get the vaccine in your home country, or will not be able to complete all the vaccine doses before you come to the U.S., you can get the vaccine when you arrive on campus.
Can I ask my students/staff/colleagues if they've been vaccinated?
No. Vaccination status is private information. The University does not have plans to require faculty, staff, students, or guests to disclose their vaccination status. While voluntary disclosure is permitted, faculty, staff, and students should not inquire about another individual's vaccination status.
Can I request that individuals who haven't been vaccinated wear a face covering?
No. The University does not have plans to require faculty, staff, students, or guests to disclose their vaccination status, so vaccination status would likely only be known if voluntarily disclosed. But, even if vaccination status is known, students, faculty, and staff should refrain from asking others to wear face coverings. If you have concerns about safety, you can submit a Safety Concern Form or contact University Health and Safety at (612) 626-6002 or your work supervisor.
I'm at risk from COVID-19; what can I do to protect myself?
Safe Campus COVID-19 Response Prevention and Wellbeing guidance and resources are available. Disability resources are also available on every campus. In the workplace, employees should contact their supervisor for more guidance.
University Vaccine Appointments
How much will I have to pay for the vaccine?
There are no out- of-pocket costs for those receiving the vaccine. However, if a patient has insurance, their insurance will be billed for a vaccine administration fee. If insurance does not cover this fee, the provider will submit a payment request through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.
Do I need to do anything to prepare for my appointment?
Bring your U Card or another form of identification. If possible, wear clothing that allows for easy access to your upper arm. You may eat, drink and take your medications normally before the appointment.
Do I have to make an appointment to get the vaccine at a U of M clinic?
Yes. Appointments will be required to get vaccinated.
How will I know when to make my appointment for the second dose of vaccine, if needed?
You will be given a vaccination card after receiving the first dose of your vaccine. This card will include the manufacturer information, the date of your first dose, and the due date of your second dose. After receiving your first dose, clinic staff will be onsite to help you make an appointment for your second dose.
If you receive the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a second dose is not required.
Can I miss class to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
This will depend on the circumstances of each course and student, but in general instructors should provide opportunities for students to make up work if they are unable to participate in class due to a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 After Vaccination
What precautions should I continue to take after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
Our experience during the pandemic confirms that some of the most basic public health precautions are straightforward and effective for preventing COVID-19, as well as other illnesses such as flu and colds. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends following these precautions regardless of vaccination status -- at least until we learn more about how long immunity lasts with a vaccine:
- Stay home if you're sick. Stay home from work, school and public areas if you're sick, unless you're going to get medical care. Avoid public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing if you're sick.
- Get tested if you develop symptoms. If you test positive for COVID-19, follow isolation guidelines as described on the MTest page.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you're sick. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily.
The University will not require vaccines to live, learn, and work at University campuses and other sites. Our public health and medical experts confirm that vaccine requirements will not result in 100% vaccination rates.
However, we expect most of our community members have already or will choose to be vaccinated. The University will do everything possible to make vaccines accessible to all who want them and address concerns and uncertainty. Why take this approach? Because:
- We know COVID-19 vaccines are among the world’s best. Our own U of M researchers were involved in vaccine development and testing. Early clinical trials are being confirmed by months of actual experience — the vaccines used in the United States are among the safest and most effective vaccines available. The risks associated with getting a vaccine are far fewer than the symptoms or potential death linked to the COVID-19 virus.
- We know that vaccines help protect others. Vaccines provide much greater protection against getting and spreading COVID-19 than not being vaccinated. According to University medical experts, research and experience are showing that vaccinated individuals have much lower COVID-19 viral loads than unvaccinated people, significantly diminishing the likelihood that they spread it to others. And, of course, vaccines protect vaccinated people from infection. In those rare cases when infections occur among vaccinated individuals, they are mild, more evidence that these vaccines, designed to prevent serious disease, work effectively.
- The University is committed to protecting your privacy. The University will not ask individuals to disclose their vaccination status to their fellow students, instructors, or coworkers. To protect privacy, we need everyone to step up and do their part by getting vaccinated.