COVID-19 Vaccination for Danforth Students FAQ

What if I am not fully vaccinated by July 15, but I will be fully vaccinated before I plan to arrive on campus in August?

We understand that not everyone will have their second vaccine by July 15. Please upload the documentation for your first vaccine and its date into the portal. Please enter second dose scheduled __/__/21 in the comments of your upload.

What if I have been granted a medical or religious exemption for the vaccine and plan to arrive to campus unvaccinated?
At this time, as noted on our COVID-19 response website, individuals will be required to wear a mask while indoors and outdoors when 6-ft distance cannot be maintained.  Unvaccinated individuals will be allowed to participate in all university activities including in person classes, labs, sports, and extra-curricular activities.  Unvaccinated individuals may be asked to complete entry and or surveillance testing and if exposed to a case, will be required to quarantine.  All messaging will include language stating:

It is important to note that many individuals may choose to remain masked and distanced for their own personal reasons regardless of their vaccination status. This should not be interpreted as an indication that the individual is not vaccinated.

I am an international student, and do not have access to an approved vaccine. What do I do?
Please email habifinfo@wustl.edu to let us know that you are not able to get an approved vaccine, and we will help you.  WashU will help to arrange entry testing and vaccination for you. Unvaccinated individuals will be allowed to participate in all university activities including in person classes, labs, sports, and extra-curricular activities.  Unvaccinated individuals may be asked to complete surveillance testing and if exposed to a case, will be required to quarantine.
I have been vaccinated with a non-approved vaccine or I am in a study for a nonapproved vaccine.
Please upload your vaccine documentation and email habifinfo@wustl.edu with details about your vaccination. Vaccines continue to be evaluated for approval by both the FDA and the WHO, and this list is expected to change.
Why do I need to be vaccinated? I already had COVID. Why can’t I just submit proof of prior infection with antibody testing?
Evidence supports that most people who have been infected generate antibody and Tcell responses, more so in those with severe infection.   A small but important WashU study published in Nature magazine June 2021 suggests that 79% of people with prior mild infection have detectable memory B cells in their bone marrow at 7-8- and 11-months post-infection suggesting they may have long lasting immunity.

There are, however, many studies also in the literature looking at vaccine-induced immunity in vaccines such as Zoster (chicken pox) and HPV that show immunity after vaccine was much stronger and/or longer in duration than natural infection.  Studies so far for COVID vaccine administration after infection show that antibody and memory B cell responses are significantly boosted by receipt of the vaccine.  They also show that an mRNA vaccine given to those previously infected induces antibodies that more readily neutralize the B.1351 variant suggesting that the booster may impart broader protection.

Since we know that the vaccine enhances the immune response and that it is showing more protection against variants, we, as well as many medical experts including the CDC, feel that vaccination in people who have been previously infected is an important additional protection for our campus as we look to protect those who are most vulnerable to significant COVID disease (immunocompromised individuals and some elderly people who do not mount a protective response from the vaccine as well as those who cannot take the vaccine).

How can the university require me to get an experimental vaccine?
It is important to note that the vaccines are not experimental – they have been authorized by the FDA for emergency use – a stringent process.  They have undergone continuous and close monitoring by the FDA and through the use of VAERS (an adverse event reporting mechanism).  None of the vaccine pretrial studies were shortened differently than any other vaccine currently on the market. Millions of people have received these vaccinations worldwide over the last year beginning with clinical trials. We have more safety data on COVID-19 vaccines than most any other vaccine in history. The vast repository of safety data has demonstrated no common serious safety issues: mild reactions such as local (pain in arm, etc.) and systemic (fatigue) symptoms are fairly common but serious adverse effects (e.g. severe allergic reaction to mRNA vaccines, blood clotting disorder for the J&J vaccine) are extremely rare. We have immense amounts of information confirming the extremely high efficacy and broad effectiveness of these vaccines which have been confirmed by the dramatic reduction in cases seen as these vaccines have been rolled out.

If you have further questions about mandated COVID-19 vaccination, you may email habifinfo@wustl.edu and we will direct your question to the appropriate department to answer your question.

For further questions please see the WashU COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ.