COVID Vaccination + Booster Information

Vial of Moderna COVID-19 with needle and vaccination record card

Ensuring that the overwhelming percentage of our community’s population is vaccinated greatly reduces the risk of COVID’s spread on our campuses and protects our neighbors in Baltimore. Vaccination and boosting have proved to be successful tools in reducing the severity of COVID symptoms.

Johns Hopkins University requires …

  • COVID-19 vaccination for all faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students who work or study at a Johns Hopkins campus or worksite in the U.S., or who travel on behalf of the university
  • An mRNA booster (Pfizer or Moderna) for all faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students who work or study at a Johns Hopkins campus or worksite in the U.S., or who travel on behalf of the university

Upload proof of your vaccination and booster shot to the Vaccine Management System (VMS) as soon as you’ve had your shot.

Note: Information on exemptions and requesting exceptions to these requirements can be found on this web page.

Johns Hopkins University experts recommend …

Vaccine needle and vial illustration
Q+A
Whatever you need to know about bivalent boosters

New booster shots designed to target the omicron variant and its subvariants, as well as the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, are now widely available in the U.S.

The policies described above include:

  • Individuals working at off-campus worksites such as Keswick, Mount Washington, and Johns Hopkins at Eastern
  • Members of collective bargaining units 
  • Contractors who provide services to the university community and whose primary work location is on university properties located in Maryland or Washington, D.C., regardless of employer
  • Anyone who is doing business on behalf of the university, including individuals engaged in work-related travel 
  • Visitors who fall under the JHU Visitor Policy (e.g., visiting faculty, students, and scholars)

Campus guests: Divisions that host on-campus guests are responsible for communicating the vaccination requirement and ensuring compliance.

School of Medicine employees continue to follow Johns Hopkins Medicine policies.

Exemptions

Fully remote individuals, including staff and online students who are working or studying 100% remotely, are exempt from the vaccination and booster requirements, but they should change their status in Prodensity to indicate that they will not be coming on campus. If plans change and an individual has to come on campus, work on-site, or participate in a JHU-sponsored residency or field study, they must be vaccinated or have an approved exception.

If a new employee, postdoctoral fellow, or transfer student, or visiting scholar has not been vaccinated before the first day of employment or activities noted above, there is a two-week grace period to complete the next step in the vaccination process (e.g., base dose or booster). Proof of vaccination should be uploaded to the Vaccine Management System within that two-week period.

Faculty and staff can take up to two days off to be vaccinated and/or to recover from any side effects. Visit the Human Resources website for additional details.

Exceptions to the vaccination and booster requirements

Exceptions may be granted in limited circumstances for:

  • Medical or religious reasons (note that the only true contraindications to the COVID-19 vaccine are 1) a severe anaphylactic reaction to a prior dose of one of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (requiring the use of epinephrine or EpiPen) or 2) an allergy to a component of the vaccine)

Additionally, the following individuals are exempt:

  • Employees who are, with permission of their supervisor, working in a fully remote capacity and do not visit any Johns Hopkins worksite
  • Contractors or vendors whose presence at any JHU property is solely limited to the delivery of goods
  • Students who are enrolled in entirely online programs and do not utilize Johns Hopkins facilities, and non-degree and non-credit students. (Students who participate in Peabody Preparatory classes and who are 12 years of age and older are required to be vaccinated or seek an exception; more details are available directly from Peabody Preparatory.)

New employees and new/transfer/visiting students may apply for an exception as soon as they have a JHED ID using the JHU Vaccine Management System (VMS). Additional details on how to request an exception, including required documentation can be found on this website.

Having had COVID-19 in the past is NOT a permissible criterion for an exception. 

Vaccination Compliance 

Any person covered by the vaccine mandate who fails to provide acceptable vaccination documentation, does not receive an approved exception, and/or has an approved exception but does not comply with testing requirements may be denied access to Johns Hopkins property and electronic resources. Those individuals may also be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Conduct Code or the appropriate procedures applicable to faculty and staff.   

If you have a concern or complaint regarding noncompliance of JHU COVID-19 safety measures by a member of the Hopkins community, please make a confidential report immediately via the online form or by calling 844-SPEAK2US (844-773-2528).

How to share vaccination status

You may be asked to show proof of vaccination status while traveling or for entrance to certain venues and facilities outside of clinical and university settings. Showing your CDC card is one common way to demonstrate proof of vaccination.  However, the CDC card may also include personal information you may not want to share.

Additional options include:

  • Sharing vaccination or lab result information quickly, easily, and securely via MyChart:
    • Use the MyChart app or website to create a barcode that can be scanned by a participating organization
    • Download a PDF document that includes your barcodes
    • Export your information to another application, such as a health wallet app
  • Downloading vaccination information through the Apple Health app
  • Printing the information from ImmuNet, the Maryland State Registry

Getting vaccinated at Hopkins

Clinics are open to all Johns Hopkins affiliates, but appointments must be scheduled in advance via MyChart. Students, faculty, and staff will also need to complete the updated COVID booster consent form in MyChart prior to their appointment.

  • Friday, Dec. 2: Shriver Hall (auditorium), Homewood campus, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Note: Booster availability is not guaranteed for walk-in appointments.

Additionally, Johns Hopkins Medicine has established a convenient walk-in clinic and also offers vaccination by appointment at several locations in communities across Baltimore and Maryland. The bivalent booster is also widely available at local pharmacies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Johns Hopkins University requiring the COVID vaccine?

Multiple vaccines have been demonstrated to provide high levels of protection against the COVID virus with reports of only minimal and brief side effects following administration. Ensuring that the overwhelming percentage of our community’s population is vaccinated will greatly reduce the risk of the virus’s spread on our campuses and will also protect our neighbors in Baltimore.

Johns Hopkins affiliates who are required to be vaccinated—and who were not vaccinated at a Johns Hopkins Medicine facility—can upload a photo of their COVID-19 vaccination record to the JHU Vaccine Management System. Affiliates may also submit an exception request in the VMS.

More information about submitting proof of vaccination to the VMS is available on the COVID Info website.

We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the science of the vaccine to visit Johns Hopkins Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccine Safety website.

Last updated: July 12, 2021 2:52pm

Who is included in the vaccination mandate?

COVID-19 vaccination and booster are required for all JHU faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students who work or study at a U.S.-based university campus or worksite. That includes:

  • Members of collective bargaining units.
  • Contractors who provide services to the university community and whose primary work location is on university properties located in Maryland or Washington, D.C., regardless of employer, except contractors or vendors whose presence at any JHU property is solely limited to the delivery of goods.
  • Those who are doing business on behalf of the university, including individuals engaged in work-related travel.

Medical and religious exceptions will be made where appropriate.

School of Medicine affiliates will be governed by Johns Hopkins Health System vaccination policies.

“Worksite” includes locations that are not within the Homewood, East Baltimore, or Washington, DC campuses, such as but not limited to Keswick, Mt. Washington, etc.

Visitors who fall under the JHU Visitor Policy (i.e., visiting faculty, students, and scholars) are subject to the vaccination mandate.

Last updated: April 18, 2022 10:05am

Which vaccines are accepted?

JHU accepts both FDA-approved vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, J&J/Janssen, Novavax) and vaccines administered outside the U.S.; Johns Hopkins Medicine (including the JHU School of Medicine) only accepts FDA-authorized COVID vaccines. In addition, all JHU affiliates must receive an mRNA Covid booster (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) as soon as they are eligible (the booster is not required for School of Medicine affiliates). All vaccination documentation must be uploaded to the Vaccine Management System (VMS).

Only mRNA boosters (Pfizer/Moderna) will be accepted. If you already received a J&J booster, you may wait six months to get the mRNA booster. If you were vaccinated with a non-FDA-approved vaccine (e.g., Sinopharm, Sinovac, etc.), you are immediately eligible for a booster (you may wait 28 days following your last dose). Only one booster dose (either Pfizer or Moderna) is required for those individuals.

Last updated: Aug 1, 2022 2:45pm

Are there exceptions to the vaccination mandate?

Yes. Medical and religious exceptions will be made using the standard vaccine exemption process in the Vaccine Management System.

Last updated: Jan 12, 2022 2:53pm

Booster requirements and recommendations

How will I know when I’m due to get my booster?

You are eligible for the original booster if you got your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine five months ago or more, or the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago. You are eligible for the new bivalent booster if you got your final baseline shot more than two months ago. 

Note: The JHU requirement is that a Pfizer or Moderna booster must be completed six months after the date of your last Pfizer/Moderna vaccination or two months after your J&J vaccination (even if you became eligible sooner, based on the type of vaccine that you got). You will have two weeks after the deadline to upload your documentation to the Vaccine Management System.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 9:50am

Which boosters are being accepted?

Only mRNA boosters (Pfizer/Moderna) will be accepted. If you already received a J&J booster, you may wait six months to get the mRNA booster. If you were vaccinated with a non-FDA-approved vaccine (e.g., Sinopharm, Sinovac, etc.), you are immediately eligible for a booster (you may wait 28 days following your last dose). Only one booster dose (either Pfizer or Moderna) is required for those individuals. 

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 9:52am

What if I already had the J&J booster?

If you have already had two shots of the J&J vaccine (a base dose and a J&J booster), you should get a Pfizer or Moderna booster when you become eligible, six months after your second J&J shot. Make sure your J&J booster date is uploaded in the Vaccine Management System.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 9:54am

How do I upload the booster documentation?

Log in to Vaccine Management System and select “Submit new vaccination.” Then select “COVID-19 Booster” from the drop-down menu (make sure you don’t select “COVID-19”).

Last updated: Dec 27, 2021 8:51am

What if I have recently had COVID? Is it safe to get the booster?

Having had COVID-19 in the past is NOT a permissible criterion for an exception. If you didn’t get monoclonal antibodies during your infection, then you can get the booster as soon as you have left isolation and are symptom-free. At that point you may get boosted at any local pharmacy or doctor’s office. Note: If you prefer to book a booster at a Johns Hopkins clinic or physician’s office, MyChart will only allow you to do so beginning on Day 21 after a positive test.

If you did receive monoclonal antibodies as a part of your treatment, you should wait 90 days before you get the booster. 

If you are symptomatic with a COVID-19 infection, you are permitted to delay receiving your booster until symptoms resolve. In these cases, you should request a medical postponement in the Vaccine Management System so that you get the additional time. To do so, log in to VMS and select “Request exception” and the system will lead you through the process.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:07am

I got both of the vaccine shots as required, then got COVID. Am I still required to get a booster, or can I get a medical exception?

Having had COVID-19 in the past is NOT a permissible criterion for an exception. If you didn’t get monoclonal antibodies during your infection, then you can get the booster as soon as you have left isolation and are symptom-free. At that point you may get boosted at any local pharmacy or doctor’s office. Note: if you prefer to book a booster at a Johns Hopkins clinic or physician’s office, MyChart will only allow you to do so beginning 10 days after a positive test (20 days if immunosuppressed). 

If you did receive monoclonal antibodies as a part of your treatment, you should wait 90 days before you get the booster. 

If you are symptomatic with a COVID-19 infection, you are permitted to delay receiving your booster until symptoms resolve. In these cases, you should request a medical postponement in the Vaccine Management System so that you get the additional time. To do so, log in to VMS and select “Request exception” and the system will lead you through the process.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:09am

What if my COVID shot was not one of the three main vaccines? Do I need to be revaccinated before I get the booster?

If you have gotten a vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization but not one authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you are immediately eligible for a booster (you may wait 28 days following your last dose). Only one booster dose (either Pfizer or Moderna) is required for those individuals.

This is a change from previous university policy (which required those with international vaccines to be revaccinated), based on emerging science related to the efficacy of boosters. 

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:11am

Bivalent boosters

How do the bivalent vaccines differ from the previous vaccines?

Previous mRNA vaccines were designed using the original strain of COVID-19. The bivalent vaccine has been designed using both the original strain of COVID-19 and newer omicron subvariants that have arisen over the course of the pandemic. The updated bivalent boosters target the most recent omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, that are more contagious than earlier strains of omicron. 

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:29am

Who will be eligible to receive a bivalent booster?

Individuals ages 12 or older are now authorized to get the new Pfizer-BioNTech booster. Individuals 18 or older are eligible for the updated Moderna COVID-19 shot. If you haven’t received a booster previously, the bivalent booster is the only option now available as the original (monovalent) mRNA booster is no longer administered. 

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:30am

Are Johns Hopkins affiliates required to receive the bivalent booster?

All affiliates are required to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine and a booster. While the bivalent booster, specifically, is not required, it is highly encouraged. 

 

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:32am

If the bivalent booster is not required, why should I consider getting it?

Among our tools, vaccination has proven to be successful in reducing the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Updated COVID-19 boosters can both help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and provide broader protection against newer variants. The CDC has recommended this vaccine, and our health advisors believe that this new type of booster is a good option for our students, faculty, and staff to continue to protect themselves and our community against COVID, even if they have already received one of the original boosters. 

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:37am

I recently received the initial vaccine or a booster of the original vaccine. Should I get the new bivalent booster right away?

Individuals who recently received their initial COVID-19 vaccine or a booster should wait at least two months before getting the updated booster, according to the FDA. Getting the new booster too soon could limit its effectiveness.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:43am

I was recently infected with COVID. Should I still get the bivalent booster?

According to the CDC, people who recently had a COVID-19 infection should consider delaying their booster shot by three months from symptom onset or positive test (if the infection was asymptomatic). If someone experienced a rebound infection after taking Paxlovid, the CDC recommends counting three months from the second symptom onset.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:41am

Can I mix and match the type of vaccine I get for a booster shot, even if it is different from what I received initially?

Individuals 18 years and older who are eligible for a booster dose are now authorized to receive either the updated Pfizer or Moderna bivalent boosters. Individuals ages 12 or older are now authorized to get the new Pfizer-BioNTech booster.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:44am

Can I receive the bivalent booster at the same time I receive my flu vaccine?

Yes, it is safe to receive your bivalent booster and flu vaccine at the same time.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:48am

Can bivalent vaccines be used as an initial course of vaccination?

At this time, the bivalent vaccine is considered only a booster, not a means of primary vaccination. For the foreseeable future, any adult starting a COVID-19 vaccination schedule will receive the original COVID-19 vaccine for their initial shots.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:49am

Will bivalent boosters be available through Johns Hopkins vaccine clinics?

Yes, Johns Hopkins is planning to have the bivalent booster available at upcoming onsite clinics. Students, faculty, and staff will be expected to sign up for appointments in MyChart. You will also need to complete the updated COVID booster consent form within MyChart prior to your appointment. Booster availability is not guaranteed for walk-in appointments.

The bivalent booster is also widely available at local pharmacies. 

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:51am

How does the availability of bivalent boosters affect international students?

University policy has not changed—individuals who received a COVID-19 vaccination using a vaccine that is WHO-authorized but not FDA-authorized (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sinovac, Sinopharm, etc.) must have an mRNA booster. The new bivalent booster will fulfill that requirement.

Last updated: Sep 23, 2022 10:54am

Vaccination mandate – faculty and staff

Can I take time off to get vaccinated?

Yes. Faculty and staff can take up to two days off to be vaccinated and/or to recover from any side effects of the vaccine. See JHU HR Information Regarding Novel Coronavirus for details.

Last updated: June 30, 2021 12:41pm

Can I take time off to be tested?

Yes. You are permitted 30 minutes of time off for testing. (This does not need to be accounted for specifically in your E210 time sheet.)

Last updated: Aug 4, 2022 10:56am

How do the vaccination policies apply to faculty, students, or staff who may be returning to Johns Hopkins’ U.S.-based worksites from abroad?

If the affiliate was able to be vaccinated abroad with a non-FDA vaccine, those doses will be accepted by JHU. Email a copy of the vaccination documentation to VMS@jhu.edu and it will be uploaded to VMS for you. These affiliates should then get an mRNA booster (either Pfizer or Moderna) to be in compliance with JHU requirements. If the affiliate was not vaccinated abroad, they should start their COVID vaccine in the U.S.

Last updated: March 9, 2022 5:01pm

Does the mandate apply to university contractors?

The mandate includes non-employees who provide services to the university community and whose primary work location is on university properties located in Maryland or Washington, D.C., regardless of employer, with the exception of contractors or vendors whose presence at any JHU property is solely limited to the delivery of goods.

Last updated: June 9, 2021 12:53pm

Can I ask my colleagues/can they ask me about my vaccination status?

Managers and business partners have a business need-to-know in many situations, and are allowed to ask about vaccine status. However, it is not the same for colleagues/peers. Asking why an individual did not receive a vaccination may elicit private information about a disability and forcing a co-worker to disclose a disability could be noncompliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In other words, asking about status is only allowed if it is “job-related and consistent with business necessity,” which means that JHU and managers can ask their direct reports, as can HR business partners. However, peers/colleagues do not have a business necessity to know this. Therefore, while you may be allowed to ask your coworker, they have the right to refuse to tell you (and vice versa).

Last updated: Aug 4, 2022 10:57am

Who will know my status if I upload my vaccine information to the Vaccine Management System?

Your manager and divisional HR business partner will have access to see your status but will not know why you were granted an exception, if you have one. Managers and HR have permission to access this information for business-related reasons (such as when it is a requirement for working in person), to ensure that everyone is being compliant with the vaccination mandate or the masking and COVID testing requirements associated with an approved exception to the mandate. 

Last updated: July 1, 2021 3:32pm

What are the COVID vaccination requirements for new JHU employees?

All JHU employees (faculty, staff, bargaining unit members, contractors, and postdoctoral fellows), including School of Medicine employees, are required to be vaccinated unless they have obtained an approved exception. JHU accepts both FDA-approved vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, J&J/Janssen) and vaccines administered outside the U.S.; Johns Hopkins Medicine (including the JHU School of Medicine) only accepts FDA-authorized COVID vaccines. In addition, all JHU employees must receive an mRNA COVID booster (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) as soon as they are eligible. All vaccination documentation must be uploaded to the Vaccine Management System (VMS).

New employees may submit a request for a religious or medical exception to the vaccine requirement through the Vaccine Management System (VMS). The request must be submitted and approved within two weeks of the first day of employment.

If the new employee does not show progress toward compliance with the vaccination requirement, they will be out of compliance and should not be on-campus until they complete the required steps.

Last updated: March 9, 2022 5:02pm

Vaccination mandate – international students

What should I do if I only need a second dose, because I received a first dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine while living abroad?

For those who may have received a first dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine abroad and only need to receive a second dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine, please be sure to bring any paperwork you have that shows the vaccination information and date of vaccination. After you are vaccinated, you must upload proof of both vaccines in one submission. (The Vaccine Management System allows submission of multiple documents, so please submit any proof of vaccine and English translations for documents in languages other than English.) 

While you are permitted to be vaccinated at any U.S. pharmacy or other vaccination location, it may be easiest to get a second dose through Johns Hopkins University or Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Last updated: March 9, 2022 5:05pm

Can I receive only one dose of an FDA vaccine as a booster if I have already been vaccinated with a non-FDA vaccine?

Yes, individuals who work or study outside of the School of Medicine may receive one booster dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna).

If you work or study in the School of Medicine, you must follow Johns Hopkins Health System guidance and are required to be revaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J).

Last updated: Jan 12, 2022 3:50pm

VMS: How to Submit Proof of Vaccination or Request an Exception

How do I report my vaccination status?

All JHU affiliates must log in to the Vaccine Management System (VMS) to upload their flu, COVID, and COVID booster vaccination documentation.

Last updated: Jan 12, 2022 3:53pm

How will the university verify COVID vaccine records from other countries in other languages?

The university asks that vaccination documentation in other languages be translated (and certified) before they are uploaded to the forthcoming Vaccine Management System. All affiliates will electronically sign their submission to affirm that the information that they provided is accurate.

Last updated: June 22, 2021 12:15pm

How can JHU ask about my vaccine status? Isn’t this a HIPAA violation?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has confirmed that Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers provide reasonable accommodations and other EEO considerations. The EEOC does not consider questions about vaccination status to be medical inquiries. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, provides protections for patients’ confidential health information, and it covers what your health care provider can share with others—not employers and what they can ask for.

Last updated: June 23, 2021 5:01pm

What file types are acceptable for uploading proof of vaccination?

You can upload a JPEG, HEIC (iPhone), or PNG photo of your vaccination card or a PDF copy of a vaccination record.

Last updated: July 22, 2021 10:45am

What do I do if I lost my vaccination card?

If you were vaccinated in Maryland; West Virginia; or Washington, D.C., you can register and obtain your COVID-19 vaccination record from Maryland MyIR, a free website service that allows consumers to view and print copies of their official vaccination records directly from ImmuNet, Maryland’s immunization information system. Just register, download or print a copy of your certification of vaccination, and upload it into VMS.

If you were not vaccinated in Maryland, your doctor’s office or the location where you were vaccinated (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, etc.) should also have a record and you should reach out to them to get a copy. You may also be able to locate this on your patient portal or on the pharmacy website under prescription records or immunization record. You can find your state’s immunization records system at this link provided by the CDC.

Last updated: July 18, 2022 1:45pm