COVID-19 Vaccine Information
While the vaccine rollout continues, Tufts urges all community members to continue with public health measures until further notice. This includes:
- Continue to wear face masks inside, even if you are fully vaccinated.
- Continue in the routine weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing and follow existing quarantine, isolation and travel protocols until further notice.
- We will review all of our current public health safety protocols and policies over the summer to make sure they are aligned with updated local, state, and federal guidance, and in keeping with our approach throughout the pandemic, any revisions we make to our protocols and policies will be data-based.
For more information about Tufts’ response to COVID-19, please see COVID-19 Testing at Tufts and our COVID-19 Travel Policy. We will update this information as guidance evolves over the coming weeks and months.
Vaccine Policy and Requirements
Students (including undergraduate, graduate, professional, and non-traditional students) will need to be vaccinated prior to participating in on-campus classes or activities. For students in the School of Arts and Sciences (including the SMFA), School of Engineering, Fletcher School, School of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, Friedman School, and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, the deadline for vaccination is July 1. We will assist students who have limited access to vaccine in meeting this requirement shortly after their arrival on campus. Like other vaccine requirements in place for students, medical and religious accommodations will be considered. Read the Student COVID-19 Vaccination policy.
Tufts is requiring students to be vaccinated, but we understand that students arriving from international locations may have difficulty accessing the vaccine. Tufts will assist these students in receiving the vaccine after they arrive on campus in the fall. Tufts is following the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which currently requires individuals who are not fully vaccinated and are arriving from international locations to quarantine for 7 days. While in the quarantine period, students will need to stay in their rooms, and participate in activities virtually. After the 7-day quarantine period, students can participate fully in all campus activities, even as they are completing the vaccine series. It is possible that CDC guidance will change before the start of the fall semester, in which case, Tufts policies may adapt.
All faculty and staff will be required to provide documentation of COVID-19 vaccination, request a medical or religious accommodation, or complete a declination form indicating a decision to decline vaccination by August 15 at the latest (or by July 1 if you are at the Dental School or Cummings School).Read the Employee COVID-19 Vaccination policy.
All vaccines approved by another country or the WHO will be accepted as meeting Tufts’ requirement for vaccination. Individuals who have received a non-WHO approved vaccine may be offered a vaccine approved by the FDA.
If you have any questions or concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, please talk to your trusted medical provider.
How to Get Your Vaccine
As of Monday, April 19, everyone living in Massachusetts who is 16 years of age or older is eligible for vaccination. On May 12, the CDC approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children ages 12-15.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is an extremely important public health measure, and achieving high levels of vaccination coverage globally will help the world return to a post-pandemic normal. A high vaccination rate within the Tufts community, particularly amongst students, faculty, and staff will help us return to full in-person campus life this fall.
If you are living in Massachusetts and wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19, please pre-register at VaccineSignUp.mass.gov to be notified when you are eligible to schedule an appointment at one of the state’s current mass vaccination locations.
If you are living outside Massachusetts, but in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers links to a nationwide VaccineFinder as well as to your state’s Department of Health.
If you are living outside the USA, please check your local and national public health agency.
Questions & Accommodations
- Massachusetts students must provide documentation of immunization, according to school requirements, or submit a medical or religious accommodation.
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.
Faculty and Staff:
- If you have questions about the vaccine, please email Occupational Health
Already Received the Vaccine?
Keep your vaccination card or record safe and make a copy for your files. You never know when the card might be required in the future.
If you have been vaccinated outside of Tufts, please follow the guidance below. Sharing that you have been vaccinated helps us to estimate the number of doses we will need as supplies increase. It will also help us understand the level of protection in our community, so we can make decisions about future policies and protocols.
Medford/Somerville/SMFA students should upload documentation through Tufts University’s Health and Wellness Patient Portal. Once submitted, documentation will be verified for accuracy and completeness by Health Service staff within 10 business days. All documentation will be kept confidential.
Boston/Grafton students should submit documentation to SAHA-Imm-Admin@tufts.edu. Once submitted, documentation will be verified for accuracy and completeness in collaboration with the Office of the University Infection Control Health Director. All documentation will be kept confidential.
Faculty and staff
Please upload documentation of your COVID-19 vaccination into Tufts’ HIPAA-compliant Qualtrics application. Uploaded COVID-19 vaccine documentation will be verified by the Office of the Infection Control Health Director. All information will be kept confidential.
The following links provide more information which answer many common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
- COVID-19 Real-Time Learning Network (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA))
- COVID-19 Vaccination (CDC)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Safe During Pregnancy (American Journal of Managed Care)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Safety and Efficacy Data Overview (American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation)
- COVID-19 Vaccines: What Are Your Concerns? (IDSA)
- Here's Why Viral Vector Vaccines Don't Alter DNA (MedPage Today)
- How Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccines Work (printable infographic, PDF)
- Johnson & Johnson Vaccine And Blood Clots: What You Need To Know
- Religion and Vaccines (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)
- Understanding Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccines (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Wondering about COVID-19 vaccines if you’re pregnant or considering pregnancy? (Harvard Health Publishing)
To help you better understand this vaccine, we have developed the following answers to some frequently asked questions.
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.
Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is paused pending additional review by the FDA.
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.
CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, effective Tuesday, April 13, after reports that six women who got the vaccine developed blood clots afterward. This pause is expected to last a matter of days while the agencies review the cases. Close to 7 million people have gotten this vaccine in the U.S. to date.
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 5-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.
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.