COVID-19 FAQs

Student Vaccination Requirement

Wake Forest requires COVID-19 vaccinations for students for the 2021 fall semester. Message | Policy

Exemptions: Information concerning how to submit a request for a medical or religious exemption can be found on the Student Health Service website.

International students: If you were unable to obtain an FDA-authorized vaccine before arriving in the United States, you will need to provide:

  • documentation of either a one-dose vaccination (Johnson & Johnson) or both doses of a two-dose vaccination series (Moderna / Pfizer) no later than Oct. 1. If you do not provide this documentation, you will be withdrawn from fall courses and your assigned housing (if applicable) on Oct. 4.

Checking Your Status: After submitting your documentation, please allow 24-48 hours before checking the status of your record online as individual vaccination records are reviewed by medical professionals.

The status of your documentation will be available in the student portal under My Profile > Immun. History.

  • Vaccinations: If you see the name of the vaccine(s) you received and the date(s) you received them on your Immun. History page, this means that your documentation has been reviewed and accepted, and that you’re in compliance with the policy.
  • Exemptions: If your exemption request is accepted, you will see “exempt” or “exemption” on the Immun. History page. If it is denied, you will receive a secure message in the portal stating that it’s denied.

Faculty & Staff Vaccination Requirement

Wake Forest will join other higher education institutions and businesses in requiring all employees to receive both an FDA approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Faculty and staff who have not already submitted COVID-19 vaccine documentation, will be required to get vaccinated and submit proof of their first dose by Friday, October 1.

Employees who would like to request a medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement may do so by completing the Employee COVID-19 Exemption Request Form.

Submitting Your Documentation: Faculty and staff who need to provide or update their vaccination status to the university should do so via Workday using these instructions.


Information subject to change based upon the latest CDC recommendations.

    General Questions

  • Is the vaccination required for WFU faculty, staff, or students?

    On April 20, Wake Forest announced that it intends to require proof of vaccination for all students enrolled in the Fall 2021 semester.

    On Sept. 15, Wake Forest announced that it will join other higher education institutions and businesses in requiring all employees to receive an FDA-approved or -authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Wake Forest will also require the influenza vaccine once again. Faculty and staff who have not already submitted COVID-19 vaccine documentation will be required to get vaccinated and submit proof of their first dose by Oct. 1. Documentation of an influenza vaccine will be required by Dec. 15.

    In addition, all positions posted on or after Monday, Sept. 13, will include a statement indicating employment is dependent on proof of an FDA-authorized or -approved COVID-19 vaccination. Human Resources will add this requirement to the position descriptions and offer letters for these positions. Hiring managers should discuss this requirement with Human Resources.

    Unvaccinated faculty, staff and students will be expected to meet protocols set by the University. See below for more information.

  • Will WFU be tracking the number of immunized individuals on campus?

    Accurate accounting for vaccination status is critical to the University’s planning for the fall, and Wake Forest is actively tracking the vaccination status of all students and active faculty and staff. Students should upload their vaccination documentation here. Faculty and staff should upload their vaccination documentation in Workday.

  • How can I talk to someone about this policy to share my feedback about it?

    We ask that students and families share their feedback via our COVID form; feedback is collected and shared with our COVID leadership team. Given the number of Wake Forest students and families, we cannot promise individual phone calls to discuss the policy. Faculty and staff may share their concerns with Human Resources using this feedback form.

    We conducted a careful and thorough analysis in making the decision to require the vaccine. In a congregate living setting like a college campus, the spread of the virus both within and beyond our campus boundaries is a public health risk. Mounting evidence has demonstrated that the vaccines are as effective in real-world use as they were in earlier trials at limiting the spread of infection and the severity of symptoms among the few who do get infected. Vaccines can reduce the spread of infection and to prevent serious illness, which is critical to us having a more normal and vibrant campus experience for all students, faculty, and staff. 

    The ACHA (American College Health Association) recommends COVID-19 vaccinations for all on-campus college students in Fall 2021. In addition, the CDC’s guidance for institutions of higher education suggests that having a fully vaccinated campus is key to resuming normal operations, such as having face-to-face classes.

    The CDC continues to monitor the safety of the vaccine and continues to encourage everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated. We will continue to monitor updated guidance from the CDC and make determinations based on the guidance of public health professionals familiar with our campus environment.

    Faculty and staff with questions about the policy can reach out to askhr@wfu.edu.


    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-authorized 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.

  • If I'm not vaccinated, what should I expect in the fall?
    • Students who receive an exemption from vaccination will be required to wear face coverings at all times when indoors except in your residence hall room.
    • Students who receive an exemption must submit to regular asymptomatic testing.
    • Students who receive an exemption will be required to quarantine per University policy if exposed to a COVID-positive person.
  • 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)

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

    If you have received only the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you must provide documentation of the second dose by Oct. 1. You will be required to follow University protocols for masking, testing, isolation and quarantine during until you are fully vaccinated. If you do not provide documentation, you will be withdrawn from fall courses and your assigned housing (if applicable) on Oct. 4.

    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 a 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 by Oct. 1 to be in compliance with this policy.

    NOTE: For purposes of this policy, students residing in the United States are considered to have been able to access the vaccine and are not eligible for the grace period.

  • 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 authorized 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 in order 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.

    After consideration of the scientific data and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines that do not hold current FDA authorization, Dr. Ohl recommended revaccination with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine in order to protect the Wake Forest community against transmission of COVID-19. The reasoning was that other vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization in some settings have been less effective in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 especially in the context of the delta variant.  Our goal with the vaccine program was to 1) decrease the risk of serious illnesses and hospitalizations from COVID-19 as well as 2) decrease the incidence of symptomatic infections on campus.  Decreasing symptomatic cases will decrease the public health measures such as quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing needed to manage COVID-19.  This will allow the campus to operate in a more “normal” fashion in addition to increasing the safety of our campus.

    According to the CDC, the minimum interval between the last dose of a non-FDA-authorized vaccine and an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine is 28 days.  Dr. Ohl has assured us that the risk of adding another vaccine is no greater than the risk of the vaccine alone.  There is some evidence that the combination may, in fact, provide better immunity than either vaccine alone.

    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.
    • 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
    • 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 protocol that is in place 

    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-authorized 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-authorized 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 
    • 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 
    • 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 vaccines, vaccine documentation, or asymptomatic testing for Wake Forest faculty and staff that was not answered here, please submit your question(s) to Human Resources using this form.