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Loyola University Chicago requires that all students be vaccinated for COVID-19 before the fall 2021 semester. We strongly encourage all faculty and staff to receive the vaccine as well. Read our statement announcing the vaccine requirement.

Loyola University Chicago's immunization/vaccination requirement is informed by our Jesuit, Catholic commitment to the common good, solidarity, and justice. Given the serious nature of the pandemic and the safety, efficacy, and availability of the COVID-19 vaccines, we are rightly called to make reasonable efforts to protect one another through vaccination. Those who are immunized prevent disease not only in themselves but also protect the vulnerable among us by preventing disease from spreading to pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and others who may be compromised by illness or social circumstance. Our vaccine requirement is informed by Catholic reasoning on the principle of moral cooperation, our obligation to the common good, and the guidance offered by the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Holy See through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Finding an appointment

Vaccine appointments are now available throughout Chicago and Illinois, including some sites that are accepting walk-ins. Please see the Resources section below for links to helpful websites to find a vaccine appointment.

International students

If you are an international student planning to study at Loyola this fall, please contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at ISSS@LUC.edu for more information on how to achieve compliance with LUC’s vaccine mandate.

Exemptions

Loyola will grant exemptions to students who have a valid medical or religious reason for not being vaccinated. See below for more detailed information on the requirements for receiving an exemption, or email COVID-19support@LUC.edu with questions.

Reporting your vaccination status

Loyolans can upload their COVID-19 vaccination cards to the Loyola Health function of the Loyola mobile application. The Wellness Center will verify your vaccination card after it is uploaded. You should not submit a copy of your vaccination card by email.

To upload your card, please follow the steps outlined below:

  • Open the Loyola mobile app and select the “Loyola Health” function. From there, you will see a login page. Log in using your UVID and password.
  • After logging in, select “Upload Vaccination” on the top menu.
  • Select the vaccine type (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson), enter the date of your first and/or second doses, and upload your vaccination card. An image of the upload form can be found below.
  • After entering all information, click “Submit” to save the vaccination card.
Please note that the verification process through the Wellness Center will take some time. We appreciate your patience.
 
All Private Health Information at Loyola, including your vaccine records, is kept in strict confidence and protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant applications and storage. Learn more.

Loyola vaccine planning

Why is the vaccine important to our campus community?

From our vantage point here at the University, nothing is more important than for our community members to get vaccinated. Receiving a vaccination will protect you, your family, friends, and colleagues, your campus community, the city, the nation, and the world. Getting the vaccine is the biggest and brightest light we've had in this very dark COVID-19 tunnel; whenever you are able, please get the vaccine.

Are all Loyolans eligible to get the vaccine?

All Loyola faculty, staff, and students are now eligible to receive the vaccine in Chicago or in Illinois. Vaccine appointments are open to anyone age 16 or older.

If you live outside Illinois, please check the CDC website and select your state from the menu under "Find a vaccine" for more information.

More vaccine appointments have opened up in recent weeks and some locations have begun accepting walk-in visits without a scheduled appointment. Please continue to check this site for the latest information on vaccine appointment availability.

Can I get vaccinated at Loyola?

Loyola Medicine is now scheduling appointments for vaccinations. However it is not feasible at this time for Loyola University Chicago to provide vaccines on its other campuses. For information on how to schedule an appointment through Loyola Medicine, or at another site, please see "Where can I get vaccinated?" below.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Your vaccination site will depend largely upon where you live. The most up-to-date information will be found on your state or city public health department website. 

Vaccine appointments are now available at Loyola Medicine. If you are an existing LUHS patient, please view the MyLoyola Scheduling Covid Vaccine document for instructions on how to schedule your appointment. If you are a new LUHS patient, please view the Create MyLoyola account document to get started.

Students can also get vaccinated at one of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s College Vaccination Days

For people living or working in Chicago, you can register to receive a vaccine at zocdoc.com/vaccine. This site is also being used by many other states. In addition, COVID Coach is an app operated by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) where you can find all of the details for the City of Chicago's testing plans, vaccination registration, and information on where you can register for a vaccine. The United Center in Chicago is also taking appointments as a mass vaccination site. 

VaccineFinder, the official CDC website, and NPR also have resources that can help you find a vaccine distribution site. The information on these sites is constantly being updated, so please consult them on a very regular basis. Wherever you do go to get vaccinated, please understand that your provider will not have any control over their supply or which vaccine they can offer. 

How can international students get vaccinated?

If you are an international student planning to study at Loyola this fall, please contact the the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at ISSS@LUC.edu for more information on how to achieve compliance with LUC’s vaccine mandate when arriving from abroad.

How do I upload my vaccination card?

Loyolans can now upload their COVID-19 vaccination cards to the Loyola Health function of the Loyola mobile application. The Wellness Center will verify your vaccination card after it is uploaded. You should not submit a copy of your vaccination card by email.

To upload your card, please follow the steps outlined below:

  • Open the Loyola mobile app and select the “Loyola Health” function. From there, you will see a login page. Log in using your UVID and password.
  • After logging in, select “Upload Vaccination” on the top menu.
  • Select the vaccine type (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson), enter the date of your first and/or second doses, and upload your vaccination card. An image of the upload form can be found below.
  • After entering all information, click “Submit” to save the vaccination card.

Please note that the verification process through the Wellness Center will take some time. We appreciate your patience.
 
All Private Health Information at Loyola, including your vaccine records, is kept in strict confidence and protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant applications and storage. Learn more.
 
 

Can I get an exemption from the vaccine requirement?

Loyola will grant exemptions to students who have a valid medical or religious reason not to be vaccinated.

Medical exemption requires a letter from a health care provider stating that the immunization is medically contraindicated. Religious exemption requires a signed written statement from the student describing the reason for the exemption and must include the following, as dictated by the State of Illinois:

  • An explanation of the reason for exemption in your own words
  • A description of the religious principle that guides your objection
  • An indication of whether this religious belief constitutes an objection to all immunizations or only this vaccine; if it is not an objection to all immunizations you must explain the religious basis for not receiving this particular immunization
  • A statement that the student (or parent/guardian if the student is under 18) is aware they will be prohibited from attending classes and dorms in the case of a vaccine preventable outbreak or exposure

To request an exemption, or if you have questions about the requirement, please contact COVID-19support@LUC.edu.

Is the vaccine covered by Loyola health insurance plans?

Yes. Both Loyola’s health plan provider Aetna and prescription benefit provider CVS are covering vaccine administration at 100 percent, not subject to any copays or deductibles.

What to expect on campus

Will vaccines change Loyola’s health and safety requirements?

All members of the Loyola community are expected to follow our required personal safety practices while on any of the University’s campuses. This includes individuals who have completed their COVID-19 vaccine series.

Until our region reaches herd immunity, Loyolans should think of a COVID-19 vaccine as another layer of protection, not as a silver bullet. Although effectiveness of these vaccines is extremely high, they do not work in every individual case. And while the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing severe illness, more research is needed to determine how well the vaccines prevent transmission, especially in asymptomatic carriers. If vaccinated people do not wear masks and socially distance until more people receive their vaccine, the virus could continue circulating.

Will I still need to be tested after getting the vaccine?

For all students, faculty, and staff who have received a complete COVID-19 vaccine series, we ask that you continue to participate in our surveillance testing program if you plan to spend time on our Chicagoland campuses. We had previously indicated that individuals would be excused from surveillance testing after they received their second dose of vaccine. However, we do not yet know precisely how effective the vaccines are in preventing asymptomatic infection that could spread to others lacking COVID-19 immunity. In addition, data are still emerging regarding how COVID-19 variants may influence vaccine effectiveness, and we want to err on the side of caution.

We take testing compliance seriously and will continue to monitor for isolated instances of non-compliance. For more information about our testing program, click here.

Vaccine basics

Who should get the vaccine?

In general, all members of the Loyola University Chicago community are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the vaccines are approved for use in adults ages 18 and up (or ages 16 and up in the case of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine). If you have already had COVID-19, it is still safe and recommended that you receive the vaccine.

Some individuals may have additional considerations when it comes to being vaccinated, such as allergies, pregnancy, or a suppressed immune system. Data is still emerging on some of these areas. You should consult with your health care provider if you have specific questions about whether it is safe for you to receive the vaccine.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for three COVID-19 vaccines. EUA allows for rapid and widespread distribution of medical products based on scientific evidence to support their use and no available alternatives in an emergency situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important to note that the level of scrutiny for EUA products is similar to a fully licensed FDA product, and the FDA continues to collect data on EUA products and conducts additional review prior to granting full licensure.

The approved COVID-19 vaccines have undergone large clinical trials that enrolled thousands of patients before being granted EUA. The United States also has a reporting system to track vaccine usage and spot potential problems, and the COVID-19 vaccines are being monitored in the same manner. To date, no serious safety concerns have been reported in relation to the available vaccines.

For additional information on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, please see this site.

NOTE: After a temporary pause for additional study, the CDC and FDA have recommended that the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine resume in the United States. According to the CDC, "A review of all available data at this time shows that the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks for those recommended to receive it."

What are the potential side effects?

It is common with vaccines to experience some side effects, although the specific reaction to the vaccine differs from person to person. (It is similar to the way some people respond to receiving their annual flu vaccine.)

One of the most commonly reported side effects is pain or swelling in the spot where the person received their injection. Other common reactions are headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and chills, which can be mild to moderate in severity and usually only last a day or two after receiving the shot. These are signs that your immune system is responding to the vaccine, which is a positive. If symptoms persist or become more severe, you should consult your physician.

Versions of the vaccines

What is the difference between the available vaccines?

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines with EUA available in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are what are known as mRNA vaccines while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Both types produce the same intended result, which is that the immune system produces antibodies to fight the virus.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses (recommended to be three weeks apart) and is approved for use in anyone ages 16 and up. It has a 94.9 percent efficacy rate in the United States.

Moderna’s vaccine also requires two doses, recommended at four weeks apart, and is approved for ages 18 and up. It has a 94.1 percent efficacy rate in the United States.

The primary difference of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it requires only one dose. It is also approved for ages 18 and up and has a 72 percent efficacy rate, although it has an 85.4 percent efficacy against severe disease, which is higher than that of Pfizer.

During clinical studies, there were no COVID-19 deaths among anyone who had been given any of the vaccines.

**NOTE: As of April 25, the CDC and FDA have recommended use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine resume in the United States after a temporary pause.

Does it matter which version I get?

In short, no. Although they vary in efficacy, all three vaccines considered to be very effective. Individuals should whichever vaccine is available to them as soon as they are eligible.

What happens if I miss my second dose? Do I have to start all over again?

There's no recommendation to restart the process if you miss a dose, and with a limited supply of vaccines this is likely not possible. The CDC has said that vaccinating someone out to six weeks after their first dose of an mRNA vaccine is thought to be efficacious. Beyond that it is still possible to get the second dose, but data does not yet exist on how effective it will be.

Vaccine science

Can vaccinated individuals still spread COVID?

While it seems that COVID-19 vaccination adequately protects against asymptomatic infection, we do not know that for certain. What data we do have indicates that those who are vaccinated appear to 70 percent protected from asymptomatic infection, and more data on this is emerging. Therefore, there is still chance for infection despite vaccination. Regardless of whether or not you are vaccinated, individuals still need to wash their hands frequently, wear masks, social distance, and follow CDC guidance. 

Should I be hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine hesitancy is a real issue, and it can pose a barrier to achieving herd immunity if a sizeable portion of the population opts out of receiving the vaccine. Therefore it is important that everyone who is able to get vaccinated does so.

There has been longstanding suspicion about vaccines in general, much of which has been fueled by misinformation. However, while we are still learning more about the COVID-19 vaccines available and their impact, research shows us that getting vaccinated not only protects the that person but protects other people who may not develop an adequate immune response to vaccines. If you have specific concerns about your own situation, please talk to your health care provider.

What are the different variants of the virus that causes COVID-19?

Viruses mutate and evolve as they replicate. As of late January, there were over 350,000 SARS coV2 genome sequences logged into the open access global science initiative. Within those sequences, there were over 20,000 mutations documented. Most of these variants are not of concern, but those that are spreading and becoming more prevalent are considered concerning. Right now, the top three variants are those that were first identified in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.

At the moment, though, we know that the vast majority of the viruses in the United States are neutralized by vaccine antibodies. Vaccination, as well as mitigation practices, greatly reduce the spread of the virus.

Will the vaccine protect against all strains of the virus?

Information about the characteristics of COVID-19 variants is still emerging. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily they spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will fully protect people against them. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during the pandemic and additional work is needed to know how widely distributed the variants are and how they impact the characteristics of disease and effectiveness of current therapies, tests, and vaccines.

How effective are the different vaccines?

The approved COVID-19 vaccines vary in efficacy but are all considered to be very effective. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and is approved for patients 16 years and older. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is 94.1 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and is approved for patients 18 years and older. Both vaccines are given by injection and, to gain a high level of protection, as 2-dose series. The Pfizer vaccine doses are given 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine doses are given 28 days apart.

The newest vaccine from Johnson & Johnon is 72 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and approved for patients 18 years and older. It is a single-dose vaccine and given by injection.

What is herd immunity? How will we achieve it?

Achieving "herd immunity" or "community immunity" is a situation where a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely. In this setting, even unvaccinated persons may be protected because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community.

It is estimated that 70 percent or more of the U.S. population will need to be immune to achieve community immunity to COVID-19. We need to make additional significant progress with COVID-19 vaccination to achieve such a level of immunity in the U.S.

Resources and General Information


To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, their safety and efficacy, and national rollout plans, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

National Public Radio’s health news website is also an excellent resource for the latest news on the vaccines and their distribution around the country, with answers to many common questions.

Distribution plans

Distribution of the COVID vaccine varies from state to state, and even from one municipality to the next. Please check with your state or city public health office for local information.

The Chicago Department of Public Health has developed a vaccine website with information on how and where to get vaccines in the city, as well as the Chi COVID Coach, a tool to help the city’s residents stay updated on vaccine rollout in Chicago.

For information on the state of Illinois, please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

Finding an appointment

Loyola encourages you to schedule a vaccination appointment anywhere they are available. Consider checking with your health care provider, pharmacy, and these helpful sites to find an appointment:

Vaccinations and the Loyola community

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines, how they will be distributed, and Loyola's future plans around vaccinations, watch our recent webinar below.

Last Modified:   Wed, May 5, 2021 3:45 PM CDT