COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Frequently Asked Questions

Which COVID-19 vaccines will be accepted?

Bates will accept all U.S. FDA Emergency Use Authorized (EUA) vaccines. At this time, the U.S. FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. They are the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, and the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). Additional vaccines are seeking U.S. FDA emergency use authorization, and Bates will also accept these once they have been emergency use authorized by the U.S. FDA.

What should I do if I’m an international student and do not have access to an U.S. FDA-emergency use authorized vaccine before coming to campus in the Fall?

If students do not have access to a U.S. FDA-EUA vaccine before coming to campus, they should notify Brenna Callahan at healthservices@bates.edu. The college will assist these students with getting a vaccine through Health Services upon arriving to campus. Based on consultation with public health experts, there is no indication of experiencing additional adverse health effects from receiving an FDA-EUA vaccine in addition to the vaccine you already received. Please see the list of common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine here.

What if I don’t want to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Bates is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for enrollment in the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • Students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to coming to campus for the academic year 2021-2022.
  • Students requesting a medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine should contact Bates Health Services.

When will I be considered fully vaccinated?

You are considered fully vaccinated fourteen days after either your single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

If I don’t get the vaccine, can I simply study remotely next year?

There will not be a remote study option for next academic year.

What is considered as a medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine?

A severe allergic reaction or a severe hypersensitivity reaction to a prior dose of COVID-19; 2) a non-severe allergic reaction or a non-severe hypersensitivity reaction to a prior dose of COVID-19 within 4 hours of receiving the dose; 3) individuals with underlying medical conditions such as weakened immune systems, autoimmune conditions, or other underlying medical conditions following recommendations from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. All requests for medical exemptions are subject to the review and approval of the Medical Director of Bates Health Services.

I tested positive for COVID-19 in the past. Is that considered a medical exemption?

No, previously testing positive for COVID-19 is not considered a medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

I recently tested positive for COVID-19; when can I get vaccinated?

Most individuals can get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are medically cleared by their provider.

Which COVID-19 vaccine should I get?

All of the U.S. FDA-EUA vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective. If you have concerns about which vaccine is right for you, we encourage you to speak with your medical provider. For those without specific medical concerns, the Maine CDC recommends individuals get the first U.S. FDA-EUA COVID-19 vaccine they have access to.

Are COVID-19 vaccines effective?

All COVID-19 Vaccines emergency use authorized by the U.S. FDA have been found by the U.S. FDA to be effective at preventing COVID-19 as supported by clinical trials. The COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing individuals from becoming sick or severely ill with COVID-19, as supported by clinical trials.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

All COVID-19 FDA-EUA vaccines are safe. All vaccines have met the U.S. FDA’s standards for safety needed to support emergency use authorization. These vaccines will continue to be monitored intensively. Read more about the FDA’s standards for vaccine safety here.

What does this mean for campus life next academic year?

Each individual who gets fully vaccinated contributes toward a community effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it is the community effort as a whole that will allow us to relax public health policies. Throughout the summer, based on Maine vaccine acceptance and local community transmission, Bates will comprehensively review public health policy and restrictions.

What if I have additional questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in Maine?

Read more here about the COVID-19 vaccine in Maine.

I’m having trouble getting an appointment to be vaccinated. What should I do?

  • Read more here about accessing the COVID-19 vaccine in Maine.
  • For students living outside Maine, most states have centralized COVID-19 vaccination information through their state CDC. You may also contact your local medical provider.
  • Many national pharmacies are also offering vaccines to the public. Many of these chains have walk-in appointments.
  • Multiple local retail stores in Maine are offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine such as the Hannaford at 692 Sabattus Street. Register for an appointment here; type the zip code 04240; schedule your appointment.

I don’t have insurance or the ability to pay for a vaccine. Can Bates help me?

The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot charge you directly for the vaccine or any administration fee or deny you a vaccination if you are uninsured.

How do I let Bates know that I have received my vaccination?

More information will be forthcoming about how to submit verification of your vaccination to Garnet Gateway. Keep a copy of your vaccination card in a safe place as you will need it as proof of your vaccination status.

Will faculty and staff be required to get vaccinated?

We expect the vast majority of the Bates community will be vaccinated by the time students return in the fall. Policies concerning employee vaccination are still under consideration by the college.

If I receive a medical exemption, how will that impact my ability to participate fully in on-campus activities?

The college may limit participation in activities that may be more high risk with regard to transmission (e.g., athletics, recreation, singing, playing instruments). A decision regarding such limitations will likely be made in late summer.

Immunization Exemption Policy 2021-2022

In compliance with federal and state law, students may request a medical exemption to required immunizations. In order to be considered for a medical exemption, the student, or their parent or guardian, if the student is under 18, must provide a written statement from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant that, in the physician’s, nurse practitioner’s or physician assistant’s professional judgment, immunization against one or more of the diseases may be medically inadvisable.


Students meeting the above criteria for a medical exemption should email healthservices@bates.edu to provide documentation from their medical provider and complete the Immunization Exemption Form. This information will then be uploaded to their medical record in the CMMC EMR. All requests for exemptions are subject to the review and approval of the Medical Director of Bates Health Services.

Beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, Maine State Law 10-144 CMR Chapter 262, prohibits institutions from granting exemptions for any reason other than medical necessity for state required vaccinations. Bates College is adopting the same rule for COVID-19 vaccinations. Therefore, Bates College will not grant exemptions for either state required immunizations or a COVID-19 vaccination based on sincere religious beliefs or philosophical reasons for opposing immunization.