COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

With the rising prevalence of the more transmissible Delta variant fueling a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Ohio State is focused on enhancing the health and safety of our community.

As of Aug. 24, Ohio State is requiring every student, faculty and staff member to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an FDA approved vaccine. The university will also accept a vaccine that has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA or Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the World Health Organization (WHO) to fulfill this requirement. 

The deadline for all Ohio State students, faculty and staff to have at least a first dose was Friday, October 15, 2021. For people receiving a two-dose vaccine, the second dose must be received by November 15, 2021. 

The university is taking this step because vaccines are the safest and most effective form of protection against COVID-19. Scientists have learned a significant amount about the Delta variant, and this research underscores why being vaccinated is critical to combating COVID-19. This variant is particularly effective in attaching to our cells – which means it is that much more effective at gaining entry into our bodies and making us sick.

That is why the university is implementing this vaccine requirement with urgency as well as continuing to require everyone to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. The university will be reaching out to our union partners to discuss this requirement.

Dates and deadlines

  • Sept. 1: Begin entering your vaccination information or request an exemption.
  • Sept. 17: Deadline to submit COVID-19 exemption requests to ensure that all requests can be reviewed prior to the Oct. 15 deadline.
  • Oct. 15: Deadline to report at least your first vaccine dose or obtain an approved exemption.
  • Nov. 15: Deadline to complete second dose of vaccine (for those having a two-dose vaccine).

How to Get Vaccinated

Getting the vaccine is easy and there is no cost to you:

  • You can walk in for an appointment today or schedule one on Ohio State’s Columbus campus or at Wexner Medical Center locations around central Ohio.
  • There are also sites throughout the state of Ohio, including in the communities in which the university’s campuses are located, so it is easy to find a location near you.

Read more on the Get Vaccinated page.

COVID-19 vaccines that will qualify under this policy are listed below.

Regulator Approval

Eligible vaccines as of Aug. 24, 2021

Full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval

Pfizer (2 dose)

FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)

Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (1 dose)

Moderna (2 dose)

World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL)

Astra-Zeneca

Serum Institute of India, and

Sinopharm (produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd)

Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

For the status of COVID-19 vaccines included on the WHO EUL, please see the WHO’s COVID-19 vaccine website.

 

Reporting 

EmployeesAll faculty and staff should use the Employee Health Record system to report their vaccination information or a request an exemption. This system should be used by employees of all Ohio State campuses and locations, both among the academic enterprise and the Wexner Medical Center, including Ohio State University Physicians Inc. (OSUP).  

Students: All Ohio State students at all campuses should use the Student Health Services My BuckMD system to report their vaccination information and upload documentation or request an exemption. Sign into My BuckMD, go to document upload, and choose document type COVID19 vaccination records or COVID19 exemption form, download a copy of your vaccination and save.  

Exemptions

A limited set of exemptions will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Medical

An individual can request a health-related exemption through submission of appropriate documentation from their treating health care provider. Any health-related exemptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Employee Health and Student Health Services.

In addition, those with a history of allergic reactions to other vaccines or medical injections will be considered for exemptions on a case-by-case basis with appropriate documentation of the allergic reaction provided by the individual’s treating health care provider.

Individuals with a history of either a documented COVID-19 infection or a history of having received a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody infusion within 30 days prior to the deadline will be eligible for a temporary exemption until after the end of the 30-day period. The individual will then be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination within 14 days of the end of the exemption.

Personal or religious 

An exemption based on an individual’s religious beliefs or practices or based on personal reasons can be requested. Requests for religious and personal exemptions are required to be notarized for all employees and students. As part of the request, the individual must attest to their reason for exemption and explanation of why they are seeking the exemption. All religious and personal exemptions will be reviewed by Student Health Services or Employee and Labor Relations.

EmployeesFaculty and staff should fill out the employee exemption request form and then submit it through the Employee Health Record system. This system should be used for employees of all Ohio State campuses and locations, both among the academic enterprise and the Wexner Medical Center, including Ohio State University Physicians Inc. (OSUP).  

Students: Ohio State students at all university campuses should fill out the student exemption request form and then submit it through the Student Health Services My BuckMD system

If an exemption request is approved, the individual will be required to:

  • Complete an eLearning (computer-based learning) module on appropriate workplace conduct to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus as an unvaccinated individual. This eLearning will be required to be completed within 14 days of being assigned. Note - the eLearning will be assigned automatically to your BuckeyeLearn transcript the week of October 18. You do not need to search and register for the eLearning.
  • Complete weekly COVID-19 testing until a determination is made that the risk of transmission in our community has reached a minimal level based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. The cost will be covered by Ohio State and testing appointments will be scheduled through MyChart.
  • Wear a face mask at all times while indoors, even if the university updates its current protocol. 

These protocols may be updated to reflect changes in the prevalence and spread of COVID-19. Once an exemption is approved, an individual will be provided further direction regarding the completion of these requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Jump to FAQs section: exemptions | student exemption requests | employee exemption requests | reporting 

How do I report my vaccination information or seek an exemption?

  • Employees: All faculty and staff should use the Employee Health Record system to report their vaccination information or request an exemption. This system should be used by employees of all Ohio State campuses and locations, both among the academic enterprise and the Wexner Medical Center, including Ohio State University Physicians Inc. (OSUP).
  • Students: All Ohio State students at all campuses should use the Student Health Services My BuckMD system to report their vaccination information and upload documentation, or request an exemption. Sign into My BuckMD, go to document upload, and choose document type COVID19 vaccination records, download a copy of your vaccination and save.

Why is the university requiring COVID-19 vaccination?

Throughout the pandemic, the university has taken measures to help keep our Ohio State community safe and healthy. The rising prevalence of the more transmissible Delta variant is fueling the resurgence of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations – including in young and otherwise healthy people. With the news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Ohio State will require every student, faculty and staff member to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The university is taking this step because vaccines are the safest and most effective form of protection against COVID-19. We are focused on enhancing the health and safety of our community.

The good news is that the combination of vaccination and mask wearing is effective at slowing down COVID-19 and keeping us safe. That is why we are implementing our vaccine requirement with urgency as well as continuing our protocol to require everyone to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

What is the deadline for being vaccinated to meet the requirement?

The deadline for all Ohio State students, faculty and staff to have at least a first dose is Friday, October 15, 2021. For people receiving a two-dose vaccination, the second dose will be required by November 15, 2021. For details and timeline for the Wexner Medical Center’s employee requirement, visit the Wexner Medical Center site.

Which COVID-19 vaccines qualify for this requirement?

A COVID-19 vaccine will qualify under this policy if the vaccine has:

  • Full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval
  • FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
  • World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL)

As of August 23, 2021, Pfizer (2 dose) has received full FDA approval. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (1 dose) and Moderna (2 dose) have FDA EUA.

For the status of COVID-19 vaccines included on the WHO EUL, please see the WHO’s COVID-19 vaccine website.

What if I do not get either a COVID-19 vaccine or an exemption by the October 15, 2021, deadline?

If an individual does not either receive their first dose of vaccine or approval of an exemption by the Friday, October 15 deadline, the individual may be subject to progressive disciplinary action including:

For students:

  • Starting in Spring 2022, existing students will be ineligible to participate in on-campus experiences, including in-person classes, living in the residence halls, visiting dining facilities, utilizing recreation centers or coming to any campus for any reason.
  • Students who intend to enroll for the first time in spring 2022 will be subject to the same vaccination requirements to participate in in-person classes, live in university residence halls or otherwise take part in on-campus experiences

For faculty and staff:

  • After being reminded of compliance needs, as well as being given time to get into compliance, removal of electronic resources (e.g., logging into their computer, email access)
  • Further progressive discipline

If a student does not meet the deadline, will it affect their enrollment this fall (autumn 2021 semester)?

No. Students who do not either receive their first dose of vaccine or approval of an exemption by the Friday, October 15, deadline may face progressive discipline in spring semester 2022, but they will be able to complete autumn semester. Starting in Spring 2022, existing students will be ineligible to participate in on-campus experiences, including in-person classes, living in the residence halls, visiting dining facilities, utilizing recreation centers or coming to any campus for any reason.

To meet the vaccination requirement, students must have at least a first shot by October 15, 2021, and their second shot (if they are receiving a two-dose vaccine) by November 15, 2021.

See the Get Vaccinated page for more information on how to sign up for COVID-19 shots. 

What will happen if an employee does not meet the deadline for the COVID-19 requirement?

Faculty and staff will be notified they are not complaint before any formal corrective measures take place. After being reminded of compliance requirements, as well as being given time to be compliant, disciplinary action includes removal of access to electronic resources (e.g., logging into their computer, email access) and further progressive discipline, up to and including termination. Office of Human Resources (OHR) Employee and Labor Relations will work directly with managers and faculty leaders who need to address formal corrective action with non-compliant employees. Continued non-compliance may result in formal corrective action. Additional details are available on the OHR website.

Will new students (spring 2022) be required to complete the requirement?

Yes, new students will be required to be compliant no later than Monday, December 27, 2021.

Who will have access to my vaccination data?

Individual vaccination data will be shared only to the extent needed for compliance and non-compliance measures and for public health purposes such as contact tracing.

I am worried that I will have to miss class or work due to side effects of receiving the vaccine.

Students, faculty and staff should stay home when they are feeling sick — regardless of the reason they believe they are feeling ill.

If students are feeling sick after a vaccination, they should contact their instructors as they would for any other illness to make arrangements. Instructors are encouraged to provide flexibility in these cases.

If faculty or staff members are feeling sick after a vaccination, they may use sick time to stay home. They should follow the normal process for informing their manager or chair when they are sick. If they do not have leave balances, they should contact their HR professional for assistance.

I am taking all my classes virtually. Does this policy apply to me?

Yes, you must be vaccinated or receive an exemption. Among other consequences, students who are not vaccinated and do not receive an exemption may need to work with their academic advisor, Graduate School registration staff or professional college registrar to administratively register for distance learning courses in spring semester 2022. This consequence will not apply to students in academic programs that are designed to be fully online, who may continue to register for distance learning classes as they normally do. Other students who have not completed the requirement will not be able to register themselves for spring semester courses, and the timing of virtual appointments with advisors will be based on availability.

I am working remotely. Does this policy apply to me?

Yes. The policy applies regardless of work location.

Will new employees be required to complete the requirement? 

Yes, the requirement will be explained through the recruitment and hiring process.

I lost my vaccination card. What do I do? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you contact your vaccination provider, your local health department or the Ohio Department of Health.

Will I receive a refund if I decide to withdraw from the university because of this requirement?

The university extended the withdrawal window so that any student who withdraws on or before to Wednesday, September 1, 2021, will be eligible for a 100 percent refund of university charges. These include tuition and campus-specific charges such as COTA, RPAC, ATI and Campus Safety, as well as charges associated with university housing and dining plans, if applicable.

Please refer to the Registration and Fees and Important Dates on the University Registrar site for all other institutional refund dates. Please note a withdrawal from all classes could result in an adjustment to your financial aid. If you have questions related to your individual financial aid circumstances please contact Buckeye Link..

As a reminder, students who wish to continue enrollment are required to be vaccinated may request an exemption based on medical, religious, or personal reasons or may choose to enroll in online courses.

Are volunteers and guests required to be vaccinated?

Volunteers and guests are not included in the requirement, however, the university strongly encourages that everyone be vaccinated against COVID-19. Everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, is required to wear masks when indoors in all Ohio State campuses and medical facilities.

Exemptions (jump to start of FAQs)

What exemptions are allowed under this policy?

A limited set of exemptions will be approved on a case-by-case basis. 

Medical

An individual can request a health-related exemption through submission of appropriate documentation from their treating health care provider. Any health-related exemptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Employee Health and Student Health Services.

In addition, those with a history of allergic reactions to other vaccines or medical injections will be considered for exemptions on a case-by-case basis with appropriate documentation of the allergic reaction provided by the individual’s treating health care provider.

Individuals with a history of either a documented COVID-19 infection or a history of having received a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody infusion within 30 days prior to the deadline will be eligible for a temporary exemption until after the end of the 30-day period. The individual will then be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination within 14 days of the end of the exemption.

Personal or Religious

An exemption based on an individual’s religious beliefs or practices or based on personal reasons can be requested. Requests for religious and personal exemptions are required to be notarized for all students and employees. As part of the request, the individual must attest to their reason for exemption and explanation of why they are seeking the exemption. All religious and personal exemptions will be reviewed by Student Health Services or Employee and Labor Relations.

Will I have to follow more stringent health and safety protocols if I receive an exemption?

Yes. For the health and safety of our community, individuals who receive an exemption from being vaccinated will be required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing (this applies to students, faculty and staff), will be required to complete an e-learning module and will be required to wear a mask at all times indoors regardless of the university’s other masking requirements. These conditions may change based on the status and spread of the virus.

Is there a deadline to apply for an exemption?

Employees and students are asked to submit exemption requests no later than Friday, September 17, 2021. We are unable to guarantee exemption requests that come in after the deadline can be reviewed before the October 15, 2021, deadline. Individuals will be considered non-compliant until their request can be reviewed.

Are exemption requests required to be notarized? 

Medical exemptions will require appropriate documentation from a treating health care provider. Religious and personal exemptions are required to be notarized for all students and employees. 

Where can I access notary services?

Notaries are available at many banks and offices. Student Legal Services offers a list of Columbus area notary services.

CFAES WOOSTER

Wayne County Public Library
220 West Liberty Street
Wooster, OH 44691
Dianna Drake at 330.804.4667 to make an appointment.

Wooster BMV License Agency
200 Vanover Street
Wooster, OH 44691
330-287-5640

LIMA

UPS Store
3221 Elida Rd
Lima, OH 45805
(419) 227-3600

Superior Credit Union
1205 East Kibby St.
Lima, OH 45804

Union Bank Co.
1410 Bellefontaine Ave.
Lima, OH 45804

MANSFIELD

UPS Store
1421 Lexington Ave
Mansfield, OH 44907
(419) 756-2442

Mansfield/Richland County Public Library
43 W 3rd St
Mansfield, OH 44902
(419) 521-3100

MARION

Huntington Bank
1200 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, Ohio 43302
740-389-5471

Got Mail
1328 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, Ohio 43302
740-725-9500

AAA Marion
1316 Mount Vernon Avenue
Marion, Ohio 43302
740-389-3517

NEWARK

UPS Store
1067 N 21st Street
Newark, OH 43055
740-366-0100

Pak Mail
573 Hebron Road
Heath, OH 43056
740-522-2564

How quickly will exemption requests be reviewed/processed?

Our goal is a 2-3 week turnaround for exemption requests. Employees and students are asked to submit exemption requests no later than Friday, September 17, 2021. We are unable to guarantee exemption requests that come in after the deadline can be reviewed before the October 15, 2021, deadline. Individuals will be considered non-compliant until their request can be reviewed.

When will weekly testing be implemented for individuals who receive exemptions?

For unvaccinated students who are already testing regularly, that requirement will continue uninterrupted for those who receive exemptions.

The start date for weekly testing for other individuals who receive exemptions will be announced after October 8, 2021. Individuals will be given at least one week’s notice before testing begins.

If I received a vaccination that is not on the list of accepted vaccines, is it safe to get another dose(s) of one that is approved?

For individual health-related questions, students can email a provider using BuckMD and employees can contact Employee Health.

Can I request an exemption after getting my first dose if I don’t feel safe getting the second?

We strongly encourage everyone to complete their vaccination series to maximize the effectiveness. If someone has an extenuating circumstance that warrants an exemption, that process will still be available.

Student Exemption Requests (jump to start of FAQs) 

As a student, how do I enter my vaccination information?

All Ohio State students at all campuses should use the Student Health Services My BuckMD system to report their vaccination information and upload documentation or request an exemption. Sign into your My BuckMD patient portal to report your vaccination status and to upload your vaccination records.

To report your vaccination status, go to My Forms and select COVID-19 Vaccination Data Consent/Release of Information form.

To upload your documentation, go to Document Upload and choose document type COVID-19 vaccination records, click Browse to locate a saved image of your vaccination record and save.

Only files of type PDF, PNG, TIFF and JPG/JPEG can be uploaded. Files must be less than 1,000 KB in size.

Both COVID-19 Vaccination Data Consent/Release of Information form and valid documentation are required for a successful submission.

As a student, how and when will I know whether my COVID-19 vaccine information has been confirmed to meet the requirement?

If you would like to check your status, visit your My BuckMD patient portal and review the COVID-19 Immunization Status banner message for your immunization completion.

I want to file a COVID-19 vaccine exemption request. What do I do?

Download the COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption form from go.osu.edu/studentvaccineexemption. Upload the completed form along with any required documentation to My BuckMD patient portal.

Medical Exemption requests require medical documentation signed by a health care provider. Religious and Personal Exemption requests must be notarized.

To upload your documentation, go to Document Upload and choose document type COVID-19 vaccination records, click Browse to locate a saved image of your vaccination record and save.

Only files of type PDF, PNG, TIFF and JPG/JPEG can be uploaded. Files must be less than 1,000 KB in size.

How will I know if my COVID-19 vaccine exemption is approved?

Once your vaccination exemption is reviewed and approved, students can log into their My BuckMD patient portal and check their exemption status in the COVID-19 Immunization Status banner message. 

Who is approving exemption requests?

All medical, religious and personal exemption requests from students will be reviewed by Student Health Services.

Who do I contact if I am having technical problems with the exemption process?

For support, please email vaccination@osu.edu.

Employee Exemption Requests (jump to start of FAQs

As a faculty or staff member, how do I enter my vaccination information?  

Log into the Employee Health Record portal, and follow these instructions:

  1. Fill in your vaccine type
  2. Complete the dates of your vaccines
  3. Provide documentation by uploading your vaccine card
  4. Check the consent disclosure
  5. Click “Save”

How and when will I know whether my COVID-19 vaccine information has been confirmed to meet the requirement?

You’ll need to log in to the Employee Health Record system to check on approval. If you see the screen indicating that “your COVID-19 Verification has been completed,” you have met the vaccination requirement. The system will not proactively send a message alerting you of approval status.

I want to file an exemption request. What do I do?

To request an exemption, log into Employee Health Record system and follow these steps:

  1. Click the box requesting an exemption
  2. Fill out the exemption form
  3. Upload your exemption form under Documentation
  4. Check the consent disclosure
  5. Click “Save”

How will I know if my exemption is approved?

Log in to the Employee Health Record system to check on approval. (The system will not proactively send a message alerting you of approval status.)

If you see the screen indicating that “your COVID-19 Verification has been completed,” your exemption has been approved.

If your request has been denied, the screen will say “Your submission and documentation have been denied.”

Who is approving exemption requests?

All medical exemption requests from employees will be reviewed by Employee Health. All religious and personal exemption requests from employees will be reviewed by the Employee and Labor Relations Team.

Who do I contact for help with this process?

University, Wexner Medical Center and OSUP employees

  • Technical questions about the Employee Health Record system – Examples:  problems with site,  I can’t upload my picture, I can’t log in :  CovidComplianceTechSupport@osumc.edu 

University and Wexner Medical Center employees

OSUP employees

Reporting (jump to start of FAQs)

If I have already been vaccinated, how do I report my vaccine information?

Employees: All faculty and staff should use the Employee Health Record system to report their vaccination information. This system should be used by employees of all Ohio State campuses and locations, both among the academic enterprise and the Wexner Medical Center, including Ohio State University Physicians Inc. (OSUP).  

Students: All Ohio State students at all campuses should use the Student Health Services My BuckMD system to report their vaccination information and upload documentation. Sign into My BuckMD, go to document upload, and choose document type COVID19 vaccination records, download a copy of your vaccination and save.  

I have already submitted my vaccination information to Ohio State. Why am I being asked to do so again?

The university and Wexner Medical Center have used several systems to collect COVID-19 vaccination information from faculty and staff since the beginning of the pandemic. In each of those systems, there were specific conditions associated with the request to report personal health information.

Ohio State now requires students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless individuals receive an exemption. With this change, faculty and staff must report their vaccination information through Employee Health Reporting system, which will be used to track responses to the vaccination requirement and exemption process.     

Individual vaccination data will be shared only to the extent needed for compliance and non-compliance measures and for public health purposes such as contact tracing.