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COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement FAQs

Why did Bridgewater State University make the decision to require students be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester?

Everyone wants to return to campus for in-person learning, community life and activities – everyone. The proven, most effective and safest way to accomplish this is with the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States. The unanimous decision of the Massachusetts State University presidents is consistent with the Stop the Spread Campaign on all campuses that included testing and contact tracing. BSU joins its sister institutions in our shared commitment to ending the pandemic by vaccinating our campus communities.

How can BSU require a vaccine that’s only received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

The Federal Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Massachusetts Department of Health all consider the vaccines that have received EUA safe and effective in combatting the COVID-19 global pandemic. Each of the vaccines were evaluated in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of individuals and continue to be evaluated for efficacy and safety as they are administered throughout the U.S. population.

I am uncomfortable taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Who should I speak to for more information about the vaccine?

Your primary care physician is always the best choice because they know your medical history and can speak directly to your overall safety in being vaccinated. A good option is to visit the commonwealth’s website that covers a number of concerns. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions  

Will BSU be offering COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes. BSU is has been approved by the state as a regional vaccination site and started administering vaccines on May 10, 2021.

I’ve had COVID. Do I still need to get a vaccine?

The CDC recommends that individuals who were previously infected with COVID-19 obtain a vaccine as soon as they have cleared isolation, unless they were treated with monoclonal antibodies.

How will students prove they have met the vaccine requirement?

Students will be asked to complete a vaccination attestation form in which students indicate the type of vaccine they have received and the dates of their first and second vaccinations. Students may optionally provide their vaccine certification so there is a record of it for them to access if they need it in the future.

Will commuter students be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccines are mandatory this fall for undergraduate and graduate students who are attending in-person classes, conducting research on campus and participating in any on-campus activities.

Will unvaccinated students taking all classes online have access to facilities on campus?

All students engaging in on-campus life or activities must be fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccination prior to accessing on-campus facilities.

What if I am an international student without access to the vaccines currently in use in the U.S.?

Based on guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, BSU will honor all vaccines approved for use by the World Health Organization (WHO) 

How do I go get a religious or medical exemption from taking the COVID-19 vaccination?

Religious and medical exemptions will be accommodated according to state and federal law, following the same exemption procedures BSU uses for other vaccination requirements. If you have a sincerely held religious belief that prevents you from vaccination against COVID-19 or a documented medical exemption, please contact the Wellness Center at 508.531.1252 or wellnesscenter@bridgew.edu to discuss these exemptions.

What is the definition of "fully vaccinated"?

For the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose. For the J&J vaccine, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after the single dose. If these requirements are not met, you are not considered fully vaccinated. Students should plan to be fully vaccinated before arriving on campus for the fall semester. 

Will BSU work with students who choose not to be vaccinated for the start of the fall semester?

The university requires all students attending in-person classes, living in campus housing, participating in on-campus activities, or accessing on-campus facilities to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus. Students who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed on campus for the fall semester. BSU has many online classes and will work with students to help them understand their course options. However, we do not plan to add additional online classes to the fall schedule.

Why can state universities require the COVID-19 vaccine when the state Department of Public Health does not?

Massachusetts State Universities informed the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Department of Higher Education, Department of Public Health, and the governor’s office, of the decision to require COVID-19 vaccines. The state DPH takes the position that Massachusetts institutions of higher education can require other vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, not currently required by their 2020-2021 vaccination schedule.

What vaccines will BSU accept?

All three vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) – Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson – are acceptable for BSU’s vaccine requirement. Based on guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, BSU will also honor all vaccines approved for use by the World Health Organization (WHO) 

What if I lose my COVID-19 vaccination card? How do I prove that I’ve gotten the vaccine?

  • Contact your healthcare provider or the location where you were vaccinated. They can print out another copy of your record.
  • Your record will also be in v-safe  , if you enrolled in the program.
  • You can fill out an Immunization Record Request Form   that goes directly to the state Department of Public Health. If you use this form, you will get a complete history of all vaccines you’ve gotten, not just the COVID-19 vaccine. It can take up to 6 weeks to get your records.