COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Vaccination Requirement

On May 26, Wake Forest shared its policy requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students.

Read the full May 26 message »

Students: How to Upload

Students should upload documentation to the Student Health Service as soon as possible. Please note that prior indication of vaccination status through SneezSafe is not sufficient documentation.


Information subject to change based upon the latest CDC recommendations.


    For Students

  • What does a student need to do to be considered fully vaccinated by WFU?

    Students must upload documentation of the appropriate doses of an FDA approved vaccine into the Student Health Portal:

    The documentation must show*:

    • Student’s name
    • The name of the vaccine received (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson)
    • Date of the dose(s)
    • Who provided the vaccine (e.g., name of the clinic, COVID-19 CDC Vaccination Record card, name of the pharmacy, etc.).  
    • Student’s date of birth
    • Wake Forest ID number (not required but recommended)

    * students may write in any of the above information on their vaccine documentation if needed. 

    NOTE: after uploading into the Student Health Portal, please allow 3-5 business days for the documentation to be processed. Students will not see a “compliant” indicator in the Student Health Portal until 14 days after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or 14 days after their single Johnson & Johnson dose.

  • I have test results showing I have antibodies for COVID-19. Can that be used in lieu of a vaccination?

    Antibodies are not recommended to be used as evidence of immunity by the CDC nor the FDA and will not be permitted as proof of nonsusceptibility to COVID. All students must have an FDA-authorized vaccine (unless they have been granted a medical or religious exemption)

  • What is the timeline by which students are expected to receive the vaccine (e.g., before classes start, within 30 days of classes starting, etc.)

    While July 1, 2021 is the stated goal for vaccine documentation, the University recognizes this poses a challenge to our international students and possibly a small number of our domestic students.

    Students who were unable to access and/or complete a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series authorized by the FDA prior to arriving to campus will be granted a grace period to demonstrate compliance and be permitted to move into residence halls and begin classes if they meet the following criteria:

    • Students who have been unable to access any doses of an FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series will be required to provide documentation of at least one dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine within 15 days of moving into University housing or the start of classes on campus for the student’s academic program, whichever is sooner. If more than one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is required to reach “fully vaccinated” status, these students must complete the full series within the medically recommended period to be in compliance with this policy. These students will be permitted to access campus and engage in classes and activities while completing the COVID vaccine or vaccine series.
    • Students who provide satisfactory documentation of having begun a COVID-19 vaccine series, but for whom the medically recommended safe date of a subsequent dose of the series is beyond their arrival on campus or the beginning of classes, will be permitted to access campus while completing the COVID-19 vaccine series. These students must complete the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within the medically recommended period to be in compliance with this policy.

    Please see the full vaccine policy.

  • Can students engage in campus activities or move into WFU housing before they receive both doses of the vaccine?

    Students who were unable to access and/or complete a COVID vaccine or vaccine series authorized by the FDA prior to arriving to campus will be granted a grace period to demonstrate compliance and be permitted to move into residence halls and begin classes if they meet the following criteria:

    • Students who have been unable to access any doses of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series will be required to provide documentation of at least one dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine within 15 days of moving into University housing or the start of classes on campus for the student’s academic program, whichever is sooner. If more than one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is required to reach “fully vaccinated” status, these students must complete the full series within the medically recommended period to be in compliance with this policy. These students will be permitted to access campus and engage in classes and activities pending the completion of the COVID vaccine  or vaccine series.
    • Students who provide satisfactory documentation of having begun a COVID-19 vaccine series, but for whom the medically recommended safe date of subsequent dose of the series is beyond their arrival on campus or the beginning of classes, will be permitted to access campus pending their completion of the COVID-19 vaccine series. These students must complete the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within the medically recommended period to be in compliance with this policy.
  • Which non-US vaccines are acceptable, in case students are able to get these vaccines elsewhere/in their home countries?

    We will only accept FDA approved* (licensed or Emergency Use Authorization) vaccines. Currently, those include Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Moderna, and Pfizer. There may be other vaccines approved over the summer, so please continue to check the Our Way Forward vaccine FAQs for the list of acceptable vaccines.

    *Note: students who receive a World Health Organization (WHO)-authorized vaccine (but not FDA approved) will be required to receive an FDA approved vaccine upon arrival to comply with the COVID-19 policy, but will not be required to quarantine after arrival from international locations if they have no symptoms.

    Students will be given a grace period of 28 days after their last dose of a WHO-authorized COVID vaccine before they are expected to receive an- FDA approved vaccine (which is the recommended timing from the CDC). They will be permitted to attend classes, live on campus, and engage in activities while awaiting/completing re-vaccination. They will need to be tested asymptomatically until they reach the “fully vaccinated” status. Details on asymptomatic testing will be provided to those students once the fall semester begins.

  • Why won’t WFU accept certain WHO (World Health Organization)-authorized vaccines?

    Wake Forest is currently examining growing scientific evidence that many countries who have used some of the WHO-authorized vaccines are experiencing steep increases in cases, including in vaccinated individuals:

    • Several countries experiencing a surge in cases who relied on the Sinopharm or vaccine are recommending  for those previously vaccinated with that vaccine a booster with an mRNA vaccine (either Pfizer or Moderna).
    • Efficacy is lower for both of the inactivated  vaccines from China (Sinopharm and Sinovac) for protection from developing symptomatic COVID-19. (Sinopharm used moderate to severe infection as their definition of case prevention and the Sinovac vaccine from China has only a 51% efficacy rate). 
    • Wake Forest’s goal is the prevention of all infections, not just moderate to severe infection. At this time, the efficacy of the non-FDA-authorized vaccines do not meet that standard. WHO approval was granted on data presented to them outlining protection from severe disease (hospitalization) and death. Our goals are different: to protect from symptomatic or asymptomatic infection and secondary transmission. This is the only way to control outbreaks in congregate living situations. 
    • Real world experience with the vaccines in other countries raises serious concern that similar risk of infection and transmission could occur if we rely solely on these non FDA approved WHO-authorized vaccines without revaccination. 
  • If international students know they will be unable to get the vaccine in their home country and provide proof by July 1, what steps do they need to take?

    Students should email traceshs@wfu.edu with the subject line “International Student Vaccine Extension” and indicate that they will need to get the vaccine when they arrive on campus. Students should share their anticipated arrival date in Winston-Salem and where they will complete their 7 day quarantine (if they have not completed it before arriving in Winston-Salem).

  • Are there risks and/or safety concerns related to receiving more than one COVID vaccine? (i.e., if they get one in their home country that is not FDA approved and need to get another when returning to Wake Forest in the fall).

    After consideration of the scientific data and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines that do not hold current FDA authorization, our infectious disease consultant, Dr. Chris Ohl, recommends revaccination with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine is necessary to protect the Wake Forest Community against transmission of COVID-19. The minimum interval between the last dose of a non-FDA authorized vaccine and an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine is 28 days. 

    See related question below regarding quarantine.

  • If a student received a vaccine in their home country, what do they need to do when returning to WFU?

    Please see below for the response that corresponds to your situation.

    For students who are “fully vaccinated” (i.e., it is 2 weeks past your second dose of a two-dose series or a single shot vaccine) with a WHO-authorized vaccine (this includes Sinopharm):

    • You do not need to quarantine after international travel as long as you remain asymptomatic
    • You must get a COVID test 3-5 days after arriving in the US (this can count as your “arrival testing” )
    • You must monitor for and report symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after travel. If you are symptomatic, you will need to be tested again, even if you had a negative test at 3-5 days after arriving in the US.

    For students who have been vaccinated with a vaccine not authorized by WHO, or who are less than 2 weeks past your second dose of a two-dose series or a single shot vaccine) 

    • You need to quarantine for 7 days after arrival in the US if you have a negative test 3-5 days post arrival; if you do not get a test, quarantine is 10 days 
    • You must get a COVID test 3-5 days after arriving in the US (this can count as your “arrival testing”)
    • You must monitor for and report symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after travel. If you are symptomatic, you will need to be tested again, even if you had a negative test at 3-5 days after arriving in the US.
    • You must comply with any University arrival testing policy that is in place (note: we expect decisions on arrival testing closer to the start of school)

    For students in both of the above situations, they will be given a grace period of 28 days after their last dose of a WHO-authorized COVID vaccine (or other non-FDA approved COVID vaccine) before they are expected to receive the FDA authorized COVID 19  vaccine; this is the recommended timing from the CDC. 

    • Students will be permitted to attend classes, live on campus, and engage in activities while awaiting/completing FDA-approved vaccination.
    • Students will need to be tested asymptomatically until they reach the “fully vaccinated” status. Details on asymptomatic testing will be provided to those students once the fall semester begins.
  • Will quarantine be required for students traveling internationally?

    The CDC has provided guidance for International Travel during COVID-19. Guidance includes recommendations for testing and quarantine pre-and post-travel. The CDC recommendations are based upon vaccination status.

    Key Points for Wake Forest Students:

    • All students arriving from international travel  at the beginning of the academic term are required to be tested for COVID-19 between 3-5 days after arrival in the US
    • All students arriving from international travel should monitor for and report symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after travel

    Quarantine

    For students who are “fully vaccinated” (i.e., it is 2 weeks past your second dose of a two-dose series or a single shot vaccine) with an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccine (this includes Sinopharm):

    • You do not need to quarantine after international travel as long as you remain asymptomatic
    • You must get a COVID test 3-5 days after arriving in the US (this can count as your “arrival testing”)
    • You must monitor for and report symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after travel. If you are symptomatic, you will need to be tested again, even if you had a negative test at 3-5 days after arriving in the US.

    For students who are unvaccinated, have been vaccinated with a vaccine not authorized by WHO, or who are less than 2 weeks past your second dose of a two-dose series or a single shot vaccine (FDA or WHO authorized):

    • You need to quarantine for 7 days after arrival in the US if you have a negative test 3-5 days post arrival; if you do not get a test, quarantine is 10 days 
    • You must get a COVID test 3-5 days after arriving in the US (this can count as your “arrival testing”)
    • You must monitor for and report symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after travel. If you are symptomatic, you will need to be tested again, even if you had a negative test at 3-5 days after arriving in the US.

Vaccine information

Top Five Things to Know

  1. COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in US history. These vaccines cannot give you COVID-19.
  2. COVID-19 vaccines work. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19. It may also help protect people around you, like your friends, your family, our school, and our community.
  3. You may have side effects after vaccination, but these are normal. You may have some side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, such as pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. You may also have tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they typically go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.
  4. It takes 2 weeks after vaccination for you to be considered “fully vaccinated,” meaning your body has built protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. People are considered fully vaccinated:
    • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
    • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
    • You should keep using all the tools available to protect yourself and others until you are fully vaccinated.
  5. After you are fully vaccinated, you can start to do some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines are the key to getting back to normal. If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic. More details about what you can do can be found on the CDC’s webpage.

Faculty & Staff Questions

If you have a question related to COVID-19 vaccine distribution and planning for Wake Forest faculty and staff that was not answered here, please submit your question(s) to Human Resources using this form.