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COVID-19 vaccination options for University students

Updated April 13, 2021

Beginning Tuesday, April 6, New York State is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to include individuals ages 16 years and older. The University of Rochester is strongly encouraging all students to get the shot at the earliest opportunity.

Here are a few key points:

  • All three vaccines currently available to the public (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) are safe and effective, and there is no cost to the individual for any of them. Studies have shown that all three provide 100% protection against the development of severe illness and death.
  • Students wishing to schedule their vaccination should keep in mind the timing of it, especially the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series. If receiving a Moderna or Pfizer two-dose vaccine series, the second dose may produce a stronger reaction/side effect—if any—than the first shot, so students should keep this in mind when it comes to both their final exam schedule and their date of campus departure. The Pfizer vaccine requires the second shot 21 days after the first one, while Moderna requires 28 days in between the first and second shots. Individuals who register for the two-dose vaccination must commit to keeping their second appointment, and must receive the second dose from the same provider as the first dose. Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is currently the only 1-dose vaccine available.
  • Pfizer is currently the only vaccine of the three that is approved for individuals ages 16 years and over; Moderna and Janssen/J&J are only approved for those ages 18 years and older.
  • Any individuals who have already had the COVID-19 infection may receive the vaccination and are encouraged to do so.

Get your vaccine at the University’s Medical Center

Beginning immediately, any currently enrolled University of Rochester student can go online to preregister for a COVID-19 vaccination on the University’s Medical Center campus. For this URMC opportunity, it does not matter if you are a permanent New York State resident—you can be an international student or a domestic student from another state.

You have to provide an on-campus address, or local off-campus address in the registration form; if listing an on-campus address, list the residence hall/dorm address and not a PO Box number. Additionally, students are required to bring a driver’s license or other government issued ID to the actual appointment to show proof of age.

Vaccination pre-registration is required through a secure URMC waitlist, found at: URMC COVID Clinic List.

Everyone must provide a University email address when signing onto the waitlist and then will be sent an email invitation to sign up for an appointment as URMC receives vaccine from the state and is able to schedule clinics. Appointments will be on a “first clicked, first scheduled” basis, so check your email frequently after signing onto the waitlist; also check junk mail for an email from Employee Health. Note: the online registration process is configured to ask if you are a University employee; students should simply reply “no.”

All students will need to enter through Strong Memorial Hospital’s main entrance/lobby for their vaccination appointment; these appointments will NOT be at the Saunders Research Building, which is the site of a different clinic for UR Medicine patients.

To get to the Medical Center, the University’s Blue Line shuttle service makes regular stops at the School of Medicine and Dentistry; Eastman campus students will need to take either the Red or Orange shuttle to Rush Rhees Library and transfer to the Blue Line. From the SMD shuttle drop-off location, students will need to walk to the main entrance/lobby of Strong Memorial Hospital, which is located Elmwood Avenue between the SMD shuttle stop and College Town.

Get your vaccine at one of the many vaccination sites in Rochester

There are currently many opportunities out there to get the vaccination—at local pharmacies, at New York State-designated sites, and at other health care sites. Please see the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub for the most convenient options. If registering online requires that you enter a New York State address, it’s fine to provide your local University on-campus or off-campus address, and that will qualify; it doesn’t matter if your home is in another state or country.

If you need to use an Uber or other paid transportation service to get back and forth to an off-campus vaccination appointment and need financial assistance for this purpose, help may be available through the University’s Basic Needs Hub. See more information here.

After the vaccination… Keep up with COVID protocols

Even after you have received the vaccine, you will be expected to adhere to all aspects of the University’s COVID-19 Community Commitment, including wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and adhering to current University gathering limits.

University Health Service (UHS) will continue conducting random surveillance testing of both on-campus and off-campus undergraduate and graduate students throughout the spring semester. Students are expected to continue participating in this testing, even if fully vaccinated.

Dr. Chat Bot participation continues to be required for everyone who is physically on any University campus or property at any time of day or night, including for students living in residence halls. Daily emails help remind everyone to complete their Dr. Chat Bot survey, and text messages are delivered to on-campus students who registered their cell number in AlertUR. The daily Dr. Chat Bot screenings are helping to keep the University community healthy and help UHS closely monitor student health and wellness on campus.

Any University student who does receive the vaccine this semester or over the summer is encouraged to upload their documentation to the UHS Connect secure portal to let UHS staff know that they can add it to your Electronic Health Record.

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