COVID-19 Vaccine Information
In addition to requiring that all faculty, staff, students, vendors, and affiliates be vaccinated and boosted, Tufts urges all community members to continue with public health measures until further notice. This includes wearing a mask inside, participating in routine surveillance testing, and following guidance on isolation and quarantine. And remember, if you are feeling sick, please stay home and seek the advice of a medical professional. See the latest COVID-19 campus protocols.
See the current schedule of on-campus booster clinics.
Vaccine Policy and Requirements
Tufts has required all community members to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. We have updated this policy to require a COVID-19 booster shot for all eligible students, faculty, staff, vendors, and affiliates per CDC guidance. You are eligible if you completed a 2-dose vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, etc.) six or more months ago or received a Johnson & Johnson/Janssen single-dose vaccine two or more months ago.
There is a rolling deadline for complying with this new requirement. All individuals who are eligible to receive a booster on or before January 15, 2022 must comply by February 15, 2022. Individuals who are eligible after January 15, 2022 will have 30 days from their date of eligibility to comply with this policy.
The university selected February 15, 2022 as the compliance deadline for this policy to balance individuals’ need for time to receive their booster shots alongside the community’s urgent interests in protecting public health and ensuring that as many people as possible receive a booster ahead of the new wave of infection.
Per US-CDC guidelines, if you have recently had COVID-19 and are eligible for a booster, it is recommended that you get your shot after your symptoms have resolved and you have been cleared to end the isolation period. You do not need to wait a specific number of days between recovery and getting your shot. Individuals with a prior COVID-19 infection must still comply with the Tufts Vaccine Policy and receive a COVID-19 booster shot either by the February 15, 2022 deadline, or 30 days after the date of eligibility, whichever comes first.
For details, please see the updated COVID-19 vaccination policies linked to in the blue sidebar to the right.
The university reserves the right to amend these policies, including as needed based on data, public health guidance, and in compliance with applicable law.
COVID-19 Vaccination Policies
How to Get Your Booster Shot
Plan ahead and schedule your booster appointment so that you receive your shot as soon as you are eligible. Vaccine is available at local pharmacies and other vaccination locations in the community. If you are currently eligible or will be soon, do not delay scheduling your booster.
Tufts plans to schedule additional on-campus booster clinics, pending vaccine availability, so please check this webpage for updates. However, we encourage you to receive your booster at a local clinic or pharmacy if one is available to you. In Massachusetts, you can use the https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ website to find a vaccination location.
Vaccine Booster Clinics
The university is holding free on-campus clinics to provide COVID-19 booster shots to members of the Tufts community who are eligible based on CDC guidance.
These clinics are for individuals who completed their 2-dose vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, etc.) more than six (6) months ago or received a single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two (2) months ago.
January 21, 28 & February 4
January 22, 29 & February 5
Performance Studio B209
Already Received the Booster Shot?
After receiving the booster shot, please upload or email your booster documentation to:
- Medford/Somerville/SMFA students: https://tufts.medicatconnect.com
- Boston/Grafton students: SAHA-Imm-Admin@tufts.edu
- Faculty/staff: https://tufts.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ekOXieZV49sKRDg
Questions & Accommodations
Medical and religious accommodations will be granted under the law. Individuals who have already received an accommodation for their primary vaccination series are considered accommodated for the booster requirement but are obliged to inform the Office of Equal Opportunity or Tufts Occupational Health Services if their beliefs or medical conditions have changed. Medical accommodations are granted for contraindications as defined by the US-CDC.
Medical or religious accommodation requests need to be submitted by February 7, 2022.
Medical accommodations come from the student’s primary healthcare provider or medical specialist and must document a contraindication—the reason why an individual cannot medically receive the vaccine. Medical accommodation requests will be reviewed by Health Service.
Religious accommodations are reviewed and approved by the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). Students requesting religious accommodation must complete the OEO Immunization Accommodation Form and will also be required to submit a letter from their religious/spiritual leader confirming their sincerely held religious belief and the nexus between that and their request for a covid vaccine waiver as a religious accommodation. Please contact Nadra Sultan at Nadra.Sultan@tufts.edu with questions.
Faculty and Staff:
The following links provide more information which answer many common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Faculty, staff, vendors, and affiliates who do not provide a record of vaccination or receive a medical or religious accommodation will not be allowed to work in-person on campus. Managers will work with Human Resources and those not in compliance to determine if other work arrangements are possible, as identified in the Flexible Work Options Policy. However, if the job function requires the employee to work on-site, further action for non-compliance will be taken. This may include unpaid leave, suspension or other discipline, up to and including termination
With the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant leading to rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts and across the United States, it is imperative that we evaluate our policies and make sure we are doing everything possible to keep our community safe. Vaccination against COVID-19 is the single most important measure that we can do to protect ourselves and others, especially vulnerable members of our community. These vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing severe infection, hospitalization, and death—this is true even for the Delta variant.
This spring, we had hoped that we would be able to reach a high rate of vaccination among our campus populations and ensure a safe environment for all. Unfortunately, due to the emergence of the Delta variant and the relatively low response to the request for documentation, we have not achieved a high enough rate of vaccination on our campuses.
Yes, Tufts will be holding vaccine clinics at 62R Talbot Avenue on the Medford/Somerville campus and at locations to be announced on the Boston Health Sciences and Grafton campuses in August and September 2021. We will post dates, times, and locations on this website and in Tufts Announcements.
The COVID-19 vaccines are injected into a person’s upper arm, much like a flu vaccine or other shot. The COVID-19 vaccine comes in two doses, spaced a few weeks apart. The first shot provides some protection against infection, and the second shot increases the effectiveness of that protection.
There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines which have been authorized by the FDA under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). One is manufactured by Pfizer, one by Moderna, and one by Johnson and Johnson. Because all three of these vaccines are highly effective, public health officials recommend that people receive take whichever vaccine is available.
None of the vaccines available in the United States are associated with any serious adverse reactions.
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine is a single dose. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to achieve the maximum immunity response. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is typically scheduled to be administered 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine is typically scheduled to be administered 28 days after the first dose.
Yes, the vaccines have only been studied for efficacy after two doses. Maximum immunity develops up to 2 weeks after the second dose of the vaccine.
You have to take the same vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) that was given on the first dose for proven efficacy.
Phase 3 clinical trials of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines found the efficacy to be up to 95% for preventing COVID-19, compared with placebo. Vaccines prevented both mild and severe disease in these trials. This is a very high level of effectiveness, comparable to other extremely effective vaccines such as those for chickenpox and measles.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for these three vaccines after they met rigorous safety and efficacy standards. The data support their safety: neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines have reported any widespread or permanent serious adverse effects.
You cannot get COVID-19 from either Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The most commonly reported side effect was soreness at the site of the injection. The other common side effects, in up to 2% of recipients, were temporary symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, chills or fevers. These symptoms are more common after the second dose and usually resolve within 1-3 days.
All vaccines require caution in persons with a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines or injectable therapy. The CDC describes severe allergic reaction as anaphylaxis and/or one requiring an EpiPen and/or hospitalization after any other vaccine or injectable therapy. People who have a history of anaphylactic reactions to any substance will be observed for 30 minutes (rather than the typical 15 minutes) after each dose of the vaccine.
Common allergens (i.e., nuts, fish, eggs) are NOT listed in the ingredients for either vaccine and thus do not pose a problem to individuals receiving vaccination. The vaccines and their vials do not contain latex, so it can be administered to persons with a history of latex allergies.
There are no known reactions or interactions between oral medications and the vaccines.
The only risk known to be associated with blood thinners is the small risk of bleeding at the injection site.
None of the EUA-approved vaccines have any reported widespread or permanent, serious, negative effects on persons receiving these vaccines. It is known from the history of other vaccines that adverse reactions will almost always be seen within two weeks after vaccine.
Vaccines may have some decreased efficacy against the new variants; however, research is ongoing. While there may be a reduced antibody response, vaccines are likely to stimulate cell-mediated immunity, which will have some efficacy against new variants.
There is no evidence or scientific concern that the vaccine could impact fertility.
These vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women. However, we know that pregnant individuals who contract COVID-19 are five times more likely to have serious side effects from the virus. They are also more likely to have pre-term births. Therefore, pregnant women should consult their obstetricians when considering, and prior to receiving, the vaccinee.
Since the vaccine does not contain the virus, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine reports that there is no reason to believe that the vaccines affect the safety of breastmilk. In addition, antibodies formed from the vaccine pass through a mother’s milk, conferring some protection on the infant.
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Being vaccinated after having COVID-19 will boost your immunity against reinfection. 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 what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
No. None of the available COVID-19 vaccines will alter your body’s DNA.
Yes, available vaccines prevent serious illness and death; however, vaccination does not prevent infection or prevent you from passing the virus on to others. Until more data are available, even vaccinated people will need to think of themselves as possible spreaders.
We can best think of vaccines as another layer of protection or mitigation measure. For the time being, Tufts’ policies around mask wearing, physical distancing, break room etiquette, participating in COVID-19 surveillance testing (frequency defined by job description), hand hygiene, essential only travel, and participating in contact and isolation protocols will remain unchanged.
All vaccines approved by the FDA for EUA (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) will be accepted. For those who were vaccinated outside the United States, WHO-approved vaccinations will be accepted. Individuals who have been vaccinated outside of the United States with a non-WHO-approved vaccine, may seek consultation with Occupational Health for possible consideration of vaccination with an FDA-EUA-designated vaccine.
After receiving the vaccine, you must continue to wear a face mask, practice physical distancing, and continue good hand hygiene practices. This will continue to reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus, becoming infected, and spreading it to others. In addition, you must continue to participate in university-mandated COVID-19 surveillance as well as follow all university quarantine and isolation protocols.
It is recommended that you take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed by the manufacturer, for fever, aches and pains, or headache after the vaccination. Most people have no symptoms after receiving the vaccine. Only take Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen if you really need it.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1. Those with symptoms that need evaluation off hours and do not have other options should go to the nearest emergency room.
All Tufts faculty, staff, employees (including dental residents and post-doctoral fellows) with questions after vaccination or who are experiencing adverse events or side effects should call their PCP. For after-hours questions, students may use their PCP’s on-call service or, alternatively, Tufts University employee health plans all include Telehealth services for 24/7 access to non-emergency medical care via Tufts Health Plan Teledoc.
Dental and Medical students with questions after vaccination or who are experiencing adverse events or side effects should call their PCP. For after-hours questions, students may use their PCP’s on-call service. Tufts Student Health plan includes 24/7 Telehealth access via http://go.healthiestyou.com/student/. Those not enrolled in the Tufts Student Health plan should consult their health insurance policies to understand after-hours care options.
Medford/Somerville/SMFA students graduate and undergraduate, including Fletcher students with questions after vaccination or who are experiencing adverse events or side effects please call Tufts Health Service at (617) 627-3350. For after-hours questions, students may use the Health Service’s on-call service. Tufts Student Health plan includes 24/7 Telehealth access via http://go.healthiestyou.com/student/. Those not enrolled in the Tufts Student Health plan should consult their health insurance policies to understand after-hours care options.