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Immunizations

Student Health Services administers vaccinations as a simple, safe, and effective way to prevent diseases from spreading. Please email the Cowell Center at cowellcenter@scu.edu for more information about immunizations.


Immunization Requirements

All incoming students (undergraduates, graduates, transfers, and re-admits) are required to comply with the Santa Clara University Immunization Requirements.

All immunization records must be uploaded to the Cowell Health Portal prior to August 1, 2022. Students who fail to upload verification by this deadline may be withdrawn from the University.

 

Immunization Exemptions

To request a medical immunization exemption, students can have their doctor complete the Exemption Form. Upload the completed form to the Cowell Health Portal.

All exemption/extension requests are due no later than August 1st. The review of requests will begin July 1st. We strongly encourage you to upload your documentation sooner rather than later to allow adequate time for review.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the deadline for completing the immunization requirements?
The deadline to complete all immunization requirements for new incoming students is August 1st.

I'm getting my initial vaccine now but won't be fully boosted by the deadline. How should I proceed? 
Please upload the initial vaccination information as soon as possible. That will ensure you meet the August 1 deadline. The vaccine date will be recorded in our system, so we will know when you are eligible for the booster. Once you have the booster, you can upload that information. 

Can I get an extension on the deadline so I can fulfill the requirements at Student Health Services?
There will not be a deadline extension; however, if you are missing any of the required immunizations, you may come to the Cowell Center to use Student Health Services to help fulfill this requirement.

Will I get a confirmation email once I fulfill the requirements?
No. It is incumbent on you to check that you have fulfilled the requirements on your Cowell Health Portal.

What if I'm an international student and my home country does not provide the required immunizations?
International students should upload a copy of all of their immunization records. They will then be verified and if something else is needed, or if immunizations are not available in their home country, students will be given a month from the first day of classes to upload the needed information. 

The easiest way to get immunizations done is to make an appointment at a CVS Minute Clinic. They carry most vaccinations and they accept the university's health insurance. You can schedule an appointment online at a local CVS Minute Clinic.

What happens if I do not upload my immunizations?
Students who fail to upload the necessary information by August 1st will be dropped from their fall courses. Students who have not registered for fall classes by August 1st will have a hold placed on their registration preventing them from registering for courses until the information has been properly submitted. For this reason, it’s imperative that information is uploaded prior to August 1st. 

How do I upload documents?
You can see an example by clicking on this link.

What forms am I required to submit on the Cowell Health Portal?
Prior to a first appointment at Student Health Services, students are required to complete a Consent to Treatment form. To fulfill immunization requirements, students must complete their Health History form and upload their official Immunization document from their provider.

What should submissions look like?
All documents must clearly state the student's name and date of birth in English. A signature or stamp from your physician or clinic is required for your official immunization record. Incomplete documents will not be accepted.

What should lab results look like?
All laboratory results must include the full report including a numeric value and reference range.

If I submitted my immunization records or the Immunization Checklist, do I need to fill out the required immunization fields on the Cowell Health Portal?
Yes, you are still required to fill out the immunization date fields that are visible on the Cowell Health Portal. Your documentation will not be reviewed unless the date fields are filled out.

Do I still have to submit my immunization/lab reports if my physician's office signs and completes my provided immunization record?
The immunization record is sufficient along with lab reports when applicable. Once your physician's office completes, signs, and stamps the immunization record, you must complete the following:
1) Upload your official immunization record AND
2) Fill out applicable immunization date fields on the Cowell Health Portal. Your documentation will not be reviewed unless the date fields are filled out.

Who can I contact if I still have questions?
If you have questions or need assistance, please email Student Health Services at cowellcenter@scu.edu

Communication via email is the most efficient way for immunization-related questions to be answered and the Cowell Center staff will reply to emails within 24-48 hours. We prefer to keep our phone lines reserved for more urgent health-related needs of our campus community, and email will help ensure your question gets routed to the correct staff member. 

For the latest campus-wide information, please visit Prepared SCU: COVID-19 Campus Updates.

Students need to upload proof of COVID vaccination & booster: Please upload your official vaccination card into the Cowell portal. Make sure that the image you upload shows the dates on which you received the vaccine (two dates if you received a 2-dose vaccine) and the type of vaccine (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna, J&J). Additionally, make sure the upload shows the date and type of COVID booster you received and your name. 

Directions for Uploading Proof of COVID Vaccination & Booster into SCU’s Cowell Center Portal

How can students upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination?

    • Go to SCU Portal You will be asked to login into your SCU account.
    • Click on Cowell Center | My Student Health Portal
    • Authenticate your login by entering your date of birth
    • Once inside your chart, under the home tab, click on the Enter My COVID-19 Vaccination Information & upload a copy of your COVID vaccination record, and complete the required information. Make sure your vaccination record shows your COVID vaccination dates and type (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, etc.) as well as your booster date and type. 
    • If you do not see this tab, scroll down to &; Medical Clearances and upload the required information. Be sure to upload a copy of your vaccination card—on both sides if necessary.

CDC: You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible.

General Questions: 

I don’t have my vaccination card with me. What should I do?
You will need to upload documentation of your booster vaccination. This could be a picture of your physical vaccine card, or a digital vaccine card. If you upload a digital vaccine card, please make sure that your name and birthday are included on the digital card so we can confirm your information. If you received your vaccination in California, you can look up your vaccination record at https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/

How can I confirm if I uploaded this already? 
Check your electronic health record by logging into the Cowell portal; from the menu (left side) find medical clearances and click on "update" next to "Covid".  If you see an uploaded image and have entered the dates you received the vaccines, then you are all good. You may receive a reminder email, these are sent out to the entire student body, please do not stress if you receive this email and have already confirmed that you have uploaded this information.

What if I’ve recently had COVID-19? When should I get the booster?
Those that have had covid illness, are not exempt from receiving the 3rd covid vaccine. The Santa Clara County Public Health Dept. says 10 days after infection if one is feeling well, or after 10 days once one feels better, they are eligible for the Covid Booster.

If you have received monoclonal antibody treatment for your covid-19, you cannot receive the vaccine/booster for 3 months. Please submit an Exemption Request form completed by a medical doctor and submit to Cowell for a temporary exemption.

 What vaccines meet the University requirement?
Vaccines meeting the University requirement include those approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and/or any other COVID-19 vaccine which has received emergency use authorization by the World Health Organization (WHO) or another national regulatory organization. As of June 29, 2021, the vaccines that have received approval from the World Health Organization (WHO) include:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech (8/23/21 Received FDA Approval)
  • Astrazeneca-SK Bio
  • AstraZeneca/Oxford
  • Serum Institute of India
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen
  • Moderna
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Covaxin

 Why is there no religious exemption for students? 
Due to the ongoing risk posed by COVID-19,, SCU will only consider requests for medical accommodations from students. This decision has been made in the best interest of our University community and surrounding neighborhoods, including those in our community who are medically vulnerable.

COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption Policy for Graduate Students in Online Programs
Graduate students who are enrolled in an online educational program may seek an exemption to the University’s vaccination requirement if they attest to the Cowell Center that they will neither be on-campus nor use campus facilities. Should a student with an approved exemption visit the campus to use campus resources, participate in campus activities, or complete a residency requirement, the individual must comply with the vaccination requirement. To seek this exemption, graduate students should contact their respective college or school, which will work with the Cowell Center to register the exemption.

COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption Policy for Graduate Students who have Completed 90% of Program Requirements
Graduate students who have completed at least 90 percent of their program requirements and are unvaccinated may seek an exemption to the University’s vaccination requirement in order to complete their degree program if the remaining required courses are offered in an online format. Such students must attest to the Cowell Center that they will neither be on-campus nor use campus facilities. Should a student with an approved exemption visit the campus to use campus resources, participate in campus activities, or complete a residency requirement, the individual must comply with the vaccination requirement. To seek this exemption, graduate students should contact their respective college or school, which will work with the Cowell Center to register the exemption.

I have received only one dose of a two-dose vaccine - should I submit this to the SCU Portal?
 Instead submit proof of your first dose in the Cowell system Mid-vaccination survey.

I have received my first shot of a two-dose vaccine outside the US and need to get my second shot in the US. Where can I get my second shot and how can I get a second shot of the same vaccination, e.g., Pfizer?
 We recommend that you use https://myturn.ca.gov/ to find a walk-in clinic or book an appointment.

I have received my first shot of a two-dose vaccine outside the US, and my vaccine type is available in the US. Should I get a second shot in the US?  How long do I need to wait?
Yes, get your second shot of the same vaccine type if possible. The minimum interval between doses is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine, and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine.

If an international student is not able to find two doses of the same vaccine, is it okay to have a mix of different vaccines?
Neither the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the WHO are explicitly recommending mixing vaccines, due to the lack of large clinical trials on combining different vaccines. However, it is generally accepted that mixed vaccination is usually effective, and has minimal additional risks. If your first shot was with a two-dose vaccine and a different vaccine is your only option for the second shot, either before or after you get to the US, SCU will accept the combination as a complete vaccination.

If I received a single dose of a two-dose vaccine outside the US, and my vaccine is NOT available in the US, can I get a second shot of a different vaccine here?  
Yes, this is generally acceptable. The minimum interval between doses is 28 days.

 If yes, should I get one or two doses of the new vaccine type?
If the vaccine type you originally received is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) as a two-dose vaccine, then the two combined doses will mean you are fully vaccinated. 

If the vaccine type you originally received has not been approved by the WHO or FDA, then whatever you receive in the US will be considered the start of your vaccination, and you should get two doses here. 

I have received a complete two-shot vaccination in my home country, but the vaccine has not yet received emergency use authorization from the WHO or FDA.  Should I get a duplicate vaccine series after I enter the US?
 Yes - unless you received Covaxin.  Covaxin is under active consideration by the WHO, and may be approved by the time fall quarter starts at SCU, in which case you may not need additional vaccination doses if you completed vaccination with Covaxin in your home country.

Will international students and students coming from outside of the US who have been vaccinated in their countries need to be re-vaccinated in the United States with a vaccine that is authorized for use in the US?
 SCU will accept COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

In the interest of health and safety, if you are outside the US and you only have access to a non-FDA/WHO-authorized vaccine (e.g. Sputnik V), we still recommend that you get vaccinated with the non-FDA/WHO-authorized vaccine as soon as possible. 

SCU will continue to review guidance from US authorities on how to manage students who have received vaccines not approved by the FDA or WHO. Students who are partially vaccinated or vaccinated with a vaccine not approved by the FDA or WHO will be required to receive a vaccine no later than 14 days after arrival in the US.  In the interim while on campus, you may be subject to special safety measures, like quarantine, frequent asymptomatic testing, and more extensive masking requirements.

SCU is planning to assist students needing additional vaccinations or boosters upon arrival in the US, based on guidance at that time.

If an international student is not able to find two doses of the same vaccine, is it okay to have a mix of different vaccines?
 Neither the U.S. Centers for Disease Control or WHO are currently recommending mixing vaccines, due to the lack of completed clinical trials on the effectiveness of combining two different vaccines. However, there is some evidence emerging from smaller studies that mixed vaccination is effective, and likely works better than a single dose. We recommend talking to your doctor before proceeding. If your first shot was with a two-dose vaccine and a different vaccine is your only option for the second shot, either before or after you get to the U.S., we will accept the combination as a complete vaccination.

Is it okay if my proof of vaccination is in another language?
 If your vaccine documentation has no English translation included, please include a translation when submitting it. We will follow up with you if there are further questions about the document.

If I have an underlying condition, can I get a vaccine?
People with underlying medical conditions can receive the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people with underlying medical conditions. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If I’ve had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get a vaccine?
 You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Will the vaccines work on new COVID variants?
 Early research suggests that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines offer protection against new variants of COVID-19. Whether the protection is at the same level as for the dominant strain of COVID-19 remains to be determined. So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway.

What are the side effects of the vaccine? 
The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. In addition, you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These side effects are more common after the second shot. The side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

How long does protection from the vaccine last?
We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity, and the CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.

How many shots do I need?
Two of the currently authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States require two shots to get the most protection. The third, the Janssen vaccine from Johnson & Johnson,  requires only one shot. 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
  • Moderna doses should be given 1 month (28 days) apart

You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.

It’s important for us to keep using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic while we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Experts are also looking at how many people get vaccinated, how the coronavirus is spreading in communities, and the effects of new mutations in the virus. CDC will continue to update this page as we learn more.

Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Additional information can be found at key things to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Where can I find the ingredients in the vaccine?
To learn more about the ingredients, see: 

To learn more about ingredients in the J&J vaccine see: 

I received individual doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella, is that still sufficient?
Yes, as long as each dosage was on or after your first birthday and you received two dosages of each separated by at least 28 days.

I received the first dosage of MMR before my first birthday, what do I do?
You must receive a third dosage.

If I had Chicken Pox as a child does that mean I am cleared for the Varicella requirement?
No, even if you had Chicken Pox as child, you still need to get a titer (blood test) to prove immunity.

I only got the titer for Varicella, is that sufficient?
Yes, if the titer is positive, that will satisfy the Varicella immunity requirement. If titer is negative, documentation of 2 doses required.

I got the first dose of Varicella before my first birthday, what do I do?
You must receive a third dosage. 

Is the TB screening mandatory?
Students outside of the US coming from high TB burden countries are required to submit a laboratory report of a negative Quantiferon or Tspot blood test completed in the United States or Canada within 1 month of starting classes at SCU. Students outside of the US from countries of origin that are not “high TB burden” as designated by the World Health Organization may be exempt from this requirement. View a complete list of the World Health Organization's list of High TB Burden Countries.

What if I had the BCG vaccine?
A history of BCG immunization does NOT fulfill this requirement.

What if I had a reactive/positive T-Spot or QuantiFeron-TB Gold test?
You must submit proof of the positive result and a normal/negative Chest X-Ray done within 6 months prior to entry to SCU to confirm that you do not have active Tuberculosis (TB). 

Do I have to receive a dose of Menactra or Menveo (Meningococcal ACWY/MCV4)?
You must receive a dose of Menactra or Menveo (Meningococcal ACWY/MCV4) on or after the age of 16.  These vaccines are approved for adults through the age of 55 years.  

I got the Meningococcal vaccine before my 16th birthday, what do I do?
You will need another dose of the Meningococcal vaccine to satisfy the requirement.

Do I have to receive a Meningococcal B (Trumenba, or Bexsero) vaccine?
If you are residing in campus housing, you will have to receive a Meningococcal B (Trumenba, or Bexsero) vaccine. 

Do you allow titers for Meningococcal?
No. We only accept documentation of the vaccine.