Mandatory COVID-19 Booster Requirement

Dec. 16, 2021

On December 16, 2021, Provost Deborah Prentice and Executive Vice President Treby Williams emailed all employees the following message:

To the Princeton University Community,

As the fall semester comes to an end, we write with gratitude for all you have done to support the health and safety of our campus. While reports about the Omicron variant are concerning, early data indicate that COVID-19 boosters bolster protection against infection and severe disease. With this in mind, as an extension of the University’s existing COVID-19 vaccination requirement, the University is mandating boosters to support continued in-person teaching, research, and campus operations in the spring.

Booster Requirement

All faculty, researchers, staff and students will be required to receive a booster by Monday, January 31, 2022 OR 30 days after they become eligible.

After receiving a booster, staff and faculty must enter their updated status to VacStatus; students will upload their status to MyUHS.

Compliance with the vaccine policy for faculty, researchers and staff is necessary for continued employment. Student compliance with the vaccine requirement is necessary to access campus facilities and continue progress to degree.

When Am I Eligible for a Booster?

  • Six months after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine, including Pfizer and Moderna
  • Two months after the single dose of J&J Janssen vaccine
  • Individuals who received a WHO-approved vaccine that is not Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J should follow the CDC guidelines for boosters.
  • If you are not eligible to get a booster before January 31, 2022, you will have 30 days from the date that you become eligible to enter your vaccine booster information into VacStatus or MyUHS.
    • For example, a student who got the second dose of Moderna on August 15 would be eligible for a booster on February 15 and would need to get a booster and enter their vaccine information in MyUHS by March 17, 2022.
  • People who are eligible for a booster and have recently tested positive for COVID-19 may delay getting a booster 90 days after the date of their positive PCR test, though they may choose to get a booster as soon as they complete their isolation period.

Please note: Anyone eligible for a booster may receive either the Moderna or Pfizer version, regardless of their original COVID-19 vaccine. “Third doses” of the vaccine for immunocompromised people will count as a booster for the purpose of this policy.

Booster Clinics

  • In addition to the clinics already scheduled for December 15 and 16, University Health Services (UHS) will host vaccine clinics in Jadwin Gym throughout the remainder of the semester. Dates and times will be announced soon.
  • To cut down on clinic wait times,
    • At least three clinics will be offered only for Princeton University students, faculty and staff.
    • For most of the January clinics, appointments will be prioritized for those with a Princeton University ID.
    • If you would like to receive TigerAlert text messages when new appointments become available, text BOOSTER to 67283.
  • The NJ Department of Health plans to open additional vaccine clinics over the next several weeks to meet the demand for boosters in our region.

Booster Exemptions and Accommodations

  • Students, faculty and staff with approved exemptions do not need to apply for another exemption. They are not required to get a booster.
  • Faculty and staff may apply for exemptions through VacStatus; students may request exemptions by emailing MyUHS@princeton.edu.
  • Applications for exemptions will be reviewed carefully and in accordance with applicable University policy and law.
  • Exemptions will not be granted on the basis of prior COVID-19 infection.

Additional Information

Please be aware that some people experience side effects such as fatigue, low-grade fever, and body aches 12-36 hours after receiving the booster, so be sure to plan the timing of your appointment wisely. For students, this may mean waiting until Winter Break to receive a booster so side effects won’t disrupt final exams or end-of-term obligations. To search for booster clinics anywhere in the U.S., visit www.vaccine.gov.

Testing Over Winter Break

If you are on campus the week of December 19-25, the last time you can submit a sample for the week is Tuesday, December 21 by 10 a.m. to a drop box, or by 12 p.m. in person to the testing clinic. No samples will be accepted or analyzed from Wednesday, December 22 through Sunday, December 26. 

If you are on campus the week of December 26-January 1, the last time you can submit a sample for the week is Tuesday, December 28 by 10 a.m. to a drop box, or by 12 p.m. in person to the testing clinic. No samples will be accepted or analyzed from Wednesday, December 29 through Sunday, January 2. 

We know that the past two years have been difficult for our entire community. With your continued vigilance and compliance, we look forward with optimism to a residential Wintersession and Spring Term.

For more information, please visit the Princeton COVID Resources website, review the Vaccination FAQs, or email questions to covidtests@princeton.edu.

Have a very happy and healthy holiday season.