COVID-19 information and updates. More Info

Vaccination FAQ

If you have previously submitted documentation of completed vaccination to the Medicat portal, you will not need to resubmit. 

Students and employees should upload a photo or scan of vaccination documentation through the Medicat portal at: https://niagara.medicatconnect.com/home.aspx. An “upload” link is found at the far-right of the upper banner.

There have been a wide range of symptoms reported, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms range from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

These symptoms are very similar to the seasonal flu, so it is important to take the same precautions advised during cold and flu season, such as washing your hands often, covering your cough, and staying home if you feel sick. In addition, if your symptoms warrant, seek the advice of your healthcare provider.

To return to the fully engaging, in-person, living-learning environment our students want and expect as quickly as possible, we are requiring all members of the Niagara University community to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19, especially severe illness and death; reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19; and have been carefully tested among thousands of adults with diverse backgrounds.

Getting vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 will help protect you and it may also protect the people around you. Overwhelming evidence suggests that vaccinated people are far less likely to spread the virus to others. This is particularly important to protect people at increased risk, including individuals who are immunocompromised.

Given the medical and community benefit of COVID-19 vaccinations, we determined that the vaccine mandate is the most effective way to ensure individual and community health and safety, as well as quality learning.

The university will drop its mask requirement in most public places on the Lewiston campus. We will continue to monitor guidance in Ontario and will adjust protocols as appropriate. Individuals may continue to wear masks in university settings and we ask that you respect the decision of any individual who may choose this personal choice.

Masks continue to be required in classrooms, but professors may, at their discretion, choose to discontinue the mask requirement in their classes.

All new students entering Niagara University for the Fall 2022 semester must demonstrate proof of full vaccination by Aug. 29, 2022. Full vaccination is considered the receipt of two doses of a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or the receipt of a single dose of a single dose series (Johnson & Johnson). Acceptable proof shall include a written certification of vaccination, such as a CDC or Ontario approved vaccination card or medical documentation showing the date and type of vaccine administered.

Newly hired employees must demonstrate proof of full vaccination by the required deadline communicated at the point of hire for review and consideration.

There is a separate FAQ page that has information specific to the students and employees at Niagara University in Vaughan, Ontario.

Yes, as per CDC recommendations, vaccination is recommended regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic coronavirus infection, including a positive antibody test. It is not known yet how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19, and although it is rare, it is still possible to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

For persons with current COVID-19, vaccination should be deferred until recovery from acute illness, and 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.

Please see the New York state vaccine finder web page for locations where you may receive the vaccine.

The university will accept the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine for students from the United States. International students who may have received a different vaccine will be able to present their proof of vaccination for review.

All three vaccines–Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer–offer clear public health and lifesaving benefits, providing protection against symptomatic COVID-19, hospitalization, and death. They are extremely effective at preventing death and hospitalization from COVID-19.

The vaccines are available to everyone free of charge. Some vaccination providers can charge your insurance company a small administration fee, but there are no out-of-pocket costs for any of the vaccines.

Vaccinations provided at Niagara University will be at no cost to faculty, staff, and students. Most pharmacies offer the vaccine for free but may charge a distribution charge to your insurance. If you do not have insurance, there is no charge.

It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19, so you are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine.

Please keep in mind that once you are fully vaccinated, you should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine studies found that two doses were needed to optimize the immune response and provide the best protection from COVID-19. Therefore, the two-dose regimen is strongly recommended and will be necessary for documentation of full vaccination.

In addition, the CDC guidance indicates that you should have both doses of the same vaccine. Individuals administering the vaccine will be tracking this to make sure you receive the same vaccine. International students who may have received a different vaccine regimen will be able to present their proof of vaccination for review.

Vaccination documentation is transmitted and stored in the Medicat electronic medical record system and is only directly accessible to campus medical personnel. Medicat meets and exceeds government and industry standards for the secure transmission and storage of medical information.

Information on vaccine exemptions, including the application for exemption, is available on the university’s website.

Exemption requests will be reviewed by individuals with expertise in the respective area and following consistent criteria.

Unvaccinated individuals will be required to wear a mask in all indoor public places on campus. Students will undergo routine COVID-19 surveillance testing. 

According to leading governmental and medical authorities, COVID-19 vaccines have been demonstrated to be safe and effective in developing an immune response to the SARS-Cov-2 virus, and research continues to support the safety and real-world efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s dedicated page on vaccine safety. If you have additional questions regarding vaccine safety, please contact your personal healthcare professional.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are very similar in composition. They are known as mRNA vaccines, given in two doses, 21 days apart for Pfizer and 28 days apart for Moderna. Your body uses the mRNA from the vaccine as instructions to make a protein that is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. Your body then naturally produces antibodies to the protein. Once your immune system does this, it makes memory cells so that if it ever encounters this protein again, it will remember it and immediately start making antibodies to it. This way, if you ever get exposed to the actual virus, your body immediately recognizes it, and knows to use antibodies to prevent the virus from getting into your cells, replicating, and making you sick. More information about Pfizer can be found here, and Moderna here.

Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine that uses a harmless piece of a different virus to instruct your cells to make the protein unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Your body then naturally produces antibodies to it in the same way described above. Find out more here.

After receiving the vaccination, you may experience side effects. These are normal signs that your body is building protection against COVID-19. Common side effects are pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These side effects could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more here.

It is not possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine, and myths and rumors such as these underscore the importance of finding resources that provide accurate information. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers a number of resources here.

The vaccine requirement is important to the health and safety of the university community, and noncompliance may include withdrawal (students) or separation (employees) from the university.  

Niagara University Counseling Services offers numerous resources to help you manage the anxiety you may be experiencing due to COVID-19, including TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) Connect, a private, customizable, self-guided program that includes engaging, interactive educational modules and practice tools to help you understand and manage how you feel, think, and act. This free online self-help tool is available for all members of the Niagara University community.

In addition, the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Emotional Support Line, 1.844.863.9314, provides free and confidential support. Crisis hotlines in both Niagara and Erie counties are available 24/7:

  • Niagara County Crisis Services--716.285.3515
  • Erie County Crisis Services--716.834.3131.

Canadian students may utilize ConnexOntario at 1.866.531.2600 or www.connexontario.ca to be directed to services in your community.

The university will manage the information regarding vaccination status. This information is confidential and will not be made public to the campus community.

With our undergraduate curriculum, virtual learning will not be considered as a replacement for individuals who choose not to receive the vaccination.

Students studying in fully online graduate programs and who will not be on campus (e.g., no residency requirement, no immersion experience, no fieldwork, no campus-based courses/jobs/services) and/or no clinical rotations in the spring 2022 semester are not required to provide proof of vaccination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has outlined emergency use and the process that pharmaceutical companies have followed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.  

Yes. While masks are only required in the classroom, individuals may choose to wear a mask for their personal safety. 

Students enrolled in exclusive online graduate programs and who will not be on campus (e.g., no residency requirement, no immersion experience, no fieldwork, no campus-based courses/jobs/services) in the spring 2022 semester do not need to provide proof of vaccination to remain enrolled in the online program.

However, any student enrolled in a graduate online program with clinical requirements, fieldwork, or on-campus immersion components must provide proof of full vaccination at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the on-campus or community activities identified above. As previously communicated, clinical sites all independently require vaccination – and do NOT recognize any exemptions. In other words, if you have an exemption that permits you to be on campus, that does NOT also allow you to participate in a clinical where the third-party clinical site requires universal vaccination by clinical participants.

Students enrolled in exclusively online graduate programs and who will not be on campus (e.g., no residency requirement, no immersion experience, no fieldwork, no campus-based courses/jobs/services) in the spring 2022 semester do not need to provide proof of vaccination to remain enrolled in the online program.

However, any student enrolled in a graduate online program with clinical requirements, fieldwork, or on-campus immersion components must provide proof of full vaccination at least two weeks prior to the commencement of these on-campus or community activities. Clinical sites all independently require vaccination and do not recognize any exemptions.

Students who have registered for online courses this spring or professors whose courses will be delivered online are still required to receive the vaccine.

Exemption decisions will be made by a team of individuals with expertise in each area on a case-by-case basis, considering various factors and based on an individualized assessment in each situation. Applicants will be informed of the decisions typically within three business days of receiving the application for exemption. While the decision is final, there will be an opportunity for the applicant to discuss the options available to him/her.

The Office of Health Services has developed flow charts that provide guidance, based on their individual vaccination status, for individuals who have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. There is also a chart for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Guidance Flow Charts