You are here: American University Campus Life Student Health COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

FAQ on Vaccination Requirements Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Booster Shots

Does AU require that students be vaccinated this fall?

Yes. All students who come to campus for any reason in Fall 2021 must be vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes full-time and part-time students, undergraduates and graduate students, and residential and non-residential students.

Back to top

How do students provide proof of vaccination?

Undergraduate, graduate, and WCL students will be required to provide proof of vaccination for the fall semester. Please see the details regarding the submission of the vaccination record

All students must provide official documentation of vaccination that includes the name of the vaccine you received and the dates you were vaccinated. This documentation may include your CDC Vaccination Card, World Health Organization Yellow Book, or official documentation from a medical provider. 

Students enrolled in fully online degree programs with no campus presence will not need to provide proof of vaccination. If a student (online or not) comes to campus for any reason, including brief meetings, events, or to use facilities, they have a campus presence and must submit proof of vaccination.

Back to top

What are the deadlines to submit proof?

  • August 17 (11:59 p.m.) - for students who will be living in university housing: 
  • August 24 (11:59 p.m.) - for all students - you must submit proof of full or partial vaccination by this date.

International students, if you will be unable to obtain full or partial immunization prior to arrival and/or prior to the deadlines, lease fill out this form. We will assist you in obtaining vaccination.

Students with approved exemptions have a different process and are already in contact with the university.

Back to top

What if a student is partially vaccinated but not fully vaccinated by the deadline?

Submit partial proof of vaccination. Upload your proof of vaccination as soon as possible, even if you will not have completed all doses. If you will not complete both doses by arrival, upload proof of your first dose. 

“Partially vaccinated” means that you have received only one dose of a two-dose vaccine and/or 14 days have not passed since your final dose of a vaccine series. 

Back to top

What happens if a student doesn't submit proof of vaccination status by the deadline?

Students who have not submitted proof that they are fully or partially vaccinated and who do not have an approved medical or religious exemption will be dropped from all courses, placed on immediate leave of absence, prohibited from entering campus buildings or facilities, and will receive a tuition refund for this semester.

Please note that international students who were unable to obtain a vaccine overseas will be assisted upon arrival. International students will not have housing canceled if they vaccinate upon arrival, and the university will assist with that. 

Back to top

Where can I get my vaccination?

Vaccine distribution is managed by federal and state agencies. Here is how to find vaccines, register, and receive your vaccine:

  • Vaccinations are readily available on a walk-in basis near campus, including Walgreens (a 2-minute walk from East Campus). More information and resources will be provided to support the community shortly. 
  • Go to the CDC’s vaccine location webpage, which includes search boxes for state health departments and the national Vaccine Finder website; or,
  • Go to the national Vaccine Finder website, which will direct you to relevant locations in your vicinity; or,
  • Go to your jurisdiction’s website for COVID-19 vaccination (by searching on your jurisdiction’s name and COVID vaccination) to see options; or,
  • Ask your personal health provider. Some doctors’ offices offer pre-registration at clinics, or if not, can advise you on services in your area

Back to top

What vaccines are accepted?

Any COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. will be accepted.

Many of our international students may be vaccinated in other countries that are using vaccines not yet approved in the United States. In accordance with CDC guidelines for people immunized with vaccines not currently authorized for use in the US, AU will accept vaccines approved by the World Health Organization. See FAQ below on international students for more details. 

Back to top

Are there exemptions?

Students at AU may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons, following existing university protocols. The exemption request period for Fall 2021 has closed.

  • Religious exemption. A student may request a religious exemption by following the university’s procedures for requesting religious exemptions for immunizations. The deadline to submit this request was July 15. Students who have previously received a religious exemption for immunizations are not required to submit another exemption request for the COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Medical exemption. At AU, a medical exemption from immunization may be allowed if a student’s physician provides a detailed letter indicating why this immunization is  medically inadvisable. This letter is reviewed by the university’s Medical Director, who determines if the medical condition meets criteria for exemption in accordance with the most up-to-date CDC recommendations. The CDC’s guidance on vaccination of persons with underlying conditions can be found here.

Exemptions are only available for medical or religious reasons, and must follow university protocols. There are no exceptions.

Back to top

Are vaccinations required for faculty and staff?

Yes, American University requires COVID-19 vaccinations for faculty and staff­. This includes adjunct faculty members, part-time employees, visiting scholars/researchers, affiliates/volunteers, and full-time contract workers.

For more detailed information, please see these Coronavirus Community Resource FAQs on faculty and staff vaccinations.

Back to top

Are visitors to campus, such as family members, required to provide documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination?

No. The COVID-19 vaccination requirement only applies to students, faculty, staff, and certain contract workers with a campus presence. Visitors are required to follow AU's health and safety protocols, including mask wearing for unvaccinated individuals. 

Back to top

After vaccination, do community members still need to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing?

  • Indoors, yes. The District of Columbia reinstated mask requirements indoors for all persons over age two, regardless of vaccination status, effective Saturday, July 31. In accordance with the Mayor’s Order (Order 2021-097), anyone present in AU buildings or campus facilities must wear masks while indoors. The only exceptions are when eating or alone in an office or residence hall room.
  • Outdoors, vaccinated individuals do not need to mask unless in a large gathering of 25 or more people. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals must mask at all times. Special events may require masking outdoors as well. Please watch for guidelines in announcements.

We will continue to update our health and safety protocols as we prepare for in-person classes and residential experiences this fall.

Back to top

After vaccination, will COVID-19 testing still be required?

Guidance regarding Fall 2021 will be communicated shortly. Partially vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals must test twice a week.

Back to top

Do students need to show proof of COVID vaccination to live in campus housing?

Yes. Students with Fall housing assignments must provide proof of full or partial vaccination, or have received a university-authorized medical or religious exemption, by August 17. International students who have been unable to obtain a vaccine will vaccinate upon arrival. 

Back to top

What about international students and individuals coming from overseas?

We understand that students not currently in the US may not have access to US-authorized vaccines prior to arrival. The university will work with international students to help them obtain vaccinations in the U.S. upon arrival and ensure they comply with university requirements prior to moving into residence halls or starting classes.

International students are urged to vaccinate prior to arrival if they have access to approved vaccines. AU follows CDC guidance for people immunized with vaccines not currently authorized in the US. 

  • If you are fully vaccinated, submit proof of your vaccination to the student health portal. You will select “NOS” (Not Otherwise Specified) as your vaccine. Next steps will depend on the status of your vaccination series, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). 
  • If you have completed a COVID-19 vaccination series (meaning two doses of vaccines) with a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization, you will not need additional doses with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine in the US. You will be approved for campus presence. 
  • If you have completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with a vaccine NOT authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization, you are considered unvaccinated. You will need to complete an FDA-authorized vaccination series in the US.  Fill out this form so we can help you to obtain a vaccine upon your arrival. 
  • If you are partially vaccinated when you arrive with a vaccine not available in the US, you are considered unvaccinated. You must restart your series in the US. Fill out this form so we can help you to obtain a vaccine upon your arrival.
  • If you are partially vaccinated when you arrive with a vaccine available in the US, you will be able to receive your second dose of the vaccine in Washington, DC. Submit proof of partial vaccination

International researchers and faculty, you may find more detailed information on the Coronavirus Community Resource page.

Back to top

How do I let AU know I will need to be vaccinated upon arrival in the U.S.? 

If you are an international student or U.S. citizen abroad, and could not obtain a vaccine overseas, fill out this form. We will work with you to ensure you are vaccinated before the start of the semester.

Back to top

I’m vaccinated with a non-WHO approved vaccine. What is AU’s policy? 

If you received a vaccine not approved by the WHO, AU considers you unvaccinated. To be approved for campus presence, you must restart the series with a WHO-approved vaccine as soon as possible, no later than seven days after arrival. AU is requiring this out of an abundance of caution, in light of the high transmission rate of the Delta variant. AU will help you to obtain an approved vaccine upon arrival.

Back to top

Will I be required to quarantine in Washington, D.C.?

All unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students arriving from outside DC/MD/VA must comply with Washington, DC Department of Health guidance for travelers. Students in this category must:

  • Self-Quarantine for seven days
    • Residential / university housing students must self-quarantine in their residence hall rooms. This means remaining in your room for seven days, except for clear necessities such as picking up food and COVID testing. Students in quarantine may participate virtually in convocation and Sophomore welcome through live stream and participate in virtual activities during All-American Welcome.
    • Off-campus students must self-quarantine at their residence. Remain in your home or apartment except for essential trips, such as COVID testing. You may not come to campus during this period, except for a COVID test.
  • Test for COVID-19 3-5 days into your self-quarantine period. Testing is available on campus, and you may come to campus for this purpose only. If you do not test 3-5 days after arrival, quarantine is extended to 10 days per DC Dept of Health regulations.
  • If the test is negative, you may leave self-quarantine after completing the 7-day quarantine and be present on campus, following protocols for unvaccinated students (such as twice-a-week testing and masking) until fully vaccinated.

Back to top

I am an international student who could not obtain an approved vaccine and will be getting vaccinated after arrival in DC. Will I be allowed on campus while waiting to be fully vaccinated?

International students who have not had access to approved vaccinations will be able to be on campus while obtaining and completing their vaccination series. You will be required to follow health and safety protocols for unvaccinated individuals until you are considered fully immunized (14 days after your second dose of Moderna or Pfizer or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine). These include twice-a-week testing and wearing face coverings both indoors and outdoors. 

Back to top

What is meant by "campus presence"?

This includes visiting the library, attending meetings, visiting offices, or using any campus facilities or spaces. A student can have a campus presence without attending in-person classes.

Back to top

I will have no presence on campus, but will participate in an AU program overseas (such as Study Abroad). Do I need to comply with the vaccine requirement?

Yes. All students (as well as faculty or staff members) participated in an AU-authorized or organized program with overseas travel (such as Study Abroad, immersion programs, etc.) must follow the vaccine requirements or request and receive an exemption. This is to protect the health and safety of our community members in these programs who may be traveling to countries with ongoing community spread of COVID-19. 

Back to top

I have more questions. Where can I find more information?

These FAQs, on the Student Health Center page, primarily address concerns relevant to students, along with services for the whole community, such as COVID-19 testing.

For other questions, including questions relevant to faculty and staff (such as the attestation process and exemption request process for faculty and staff), as well as general questions on vaccine-related university policy and more, please review the extensive Vaccination FAQs on the Coronavirus Community Resource page

If you do not find your questions answered on these pages, questions may be sent to

Back to top

Booster Shot FAQ

What are the risks to getting a booster?

For many who have completed their primary series with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the benefits of getting a booster shot outweigh the known and potential risks. So far, reactions reported after the third Pfizer-BioNTech shot were similar to that of the 2-shot primary series. Fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the 2-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.

Does this change the definition of “fully vaccinated” for those eligible for booster shots?

People are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine. This definition applies to all people, including those who receive an additional dose as recommended for moderate to severely immunocompromised people and those who receive a booster shot.

Can you explain these “permissive” recommendations related to people 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions, and people 18 to 64 who may be exposed due to occupational/institutional setting? How are these different from the other recommendations?

Adults 18-49 who have underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as are people 18-64 are in an occupational or institutional setting where the burden of COVID-19 infection and risk of transmission are high. However, that risk is likely not as high as it would be for adults 50 years and older who have underlying medical conditions, or people who live in long-term care settings. Therefore, the CDC’s recommendation is not as strong for these populations, but still allows a booster shot to be available for those who would like to get one. People 18 and older who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions or their occupation should consider their individual risks and benefits when making the decision of whether to get a booster shot. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.

Will providers such as Walgreens, accept anyone who says they’re eligible to receive a booster shot? Will people need to show a doctor’s note/prescription or other documentation?

Individuals can self-attest (i.e. self-report that they are eligible) and receive a booster shot wherever vaccines are offered. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for these select populations receiving their booster shot.

Looking for More Information?

AU's Health & Safety Procedures and Coronavirus Response: More details about AU's coronavirus response, health and safety protocols, COVID-19 testing and links to policy directives can be found here.