COVID booster shots now required for all eligible JHU affiliates

Proof of booster shot must be uploaded to the university's Vaccine Management System by Feb. 1

All eligible Johns Hopkins University faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students who will be working or studying at a U.S.-based university campus or worksite are now required to get either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID booster shot by Feb. 1, the university announced today.

Affiliates who are 100% remote—that is, those who never come to any Johns Hopkins facility or conduct business publicly on Johns Hopkins' behalf—remain exempt. The School of Medicine will be governed by Johns Hopkins Health System vaccination policies. More details of who is included in JHU's vaccine requirements are on the Coronavirus Information website.

For APL staff members who work, teach, or attend classes at other JHU or JHM campuses, the mandates for each campus apply and can supersede APL guidelines.

The announcement was made in an email sent to the university community today from Stephen Gange, professor and executive vice provost for academic affairs; Jon Links, professor, vice provost, and chief risk officer; Kevin Shollenberger, vice provost for student health and well-being, and interim vice provost for student affairs.

The decision was made, they said, because emerging evidence has shown that immunity to COVID wanes over time, particularly against the omicron variant, but that booster shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine provide significant additional protection. They also said they believe that this step will help prevent disruptions to the university's plans for an in-person spring semester.

The details outlined in the email are as follows:

  • Document your booster: Upload proof of your booster shot to the Vaccine Management System (VMS) now, or as soon as you've had your shot.
  • Eligibility: You are eligible for a booster if you got your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine six months ago or more, or the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago. If you have received two doses of J&J, a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after your second J&J shot is recommended.
  • New international students: If you have gotten a vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization but not one authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you are immediately eligible for a booster (you may wait 28 days following your last dose). Only one booster dose (either Pfizer or Moderna) is required for those individuals. This is a change from previous university policy (which required those with international vaccines to be revaccinated), based on emerging science related to the efficacy of boosters.
  • Rolling deadline: Those who are not yet eligible for a booster as of Feb. 1 will be required to receive a booster as soon as they become eligible (six months after a second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). Those individuals will have two weeks after they become eligible to get the booster and upload their documentation to the Vaccine Management System.
  • Exceptions: If you have an approved medical or religious exemption to the COVID vaccine, it carries over to the booster requirement. You do not need to apply again.
  • Don't delay: If you can get a booster shot prior to the return to campus in January, you are urged to do so. Booster appointments can be made now through MyChart or at state and local vaccination sites and pharmacies. Additional on-campus clinics for boosters are in the process of being scheduled. See the Coronavirus Information website for the most up-to-date information.

Anyone experiencing any symptoms—even if they think it's just a cold—or knowing that they have been exposed to COVID is reminded to not go to campus and to call the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center at 443-287-8500 for guidance.