Vaccination Policy Information 

Updated on April 6, 2022

Student-Specific Information | Faculty and Staff-Specific Information

Who is required to be vaccinated for the 2021–2022 academic year?

The College requires all members of the campus community—students, faculty, and staff (including casual staff)—to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, which effective January 21, 2022 includes having received a COVID-19 booster shot within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible. For all but a small number of our faculty and staff, this means they will need to get a booster on or prior to January 21.

Is the College requiring students, faculty, and staff to receive a booster shot? 
Yes. To return to campus for the Spring 2022 semester, or more specifically, effective January 21, 2022, Bowdoin is requiring all students, faculty, and staff to receive a first COVID-19 booster shot within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible. For all but a small number of our faculty and staff, this means you will need to get your booster on or prior to January 21. If you have already received an approved exemption from COVID-19 vaccination, you will continue to be exempt from this requirement 

Eligible individuals are those who received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination at least six months ago or those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination at least two months ago. If you have questions about your eligibility date or timeline to meet the booster requirement, please refer to the CDC website or contact Mary Cote in human resources (x3033, mcote@bowdoin.edu).

Is the College requiring eligible faculty and staff to receive a second booster shot?
No. At this time the College is not requiring eligible faculty and staff to receive a second COVID-19 booster shot.

Why is Bowdoin requiring vaccinations for COVID-19?

Bowdoin is requiring students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, which includes having received a booster shot within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible, in order to return to normal operations and to safeguard the health and safety of our community, including by reducing the likelihood of “breakthrough infections” and protecting those in our community who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Are there exemptions from this requirement?
Students may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical reasons associated with a health condition. Faculty and staff may request an exemption for medical reasons associated with a health condition or for sincerely held religious beliefs. There is no religious exemption from vaccination available to students.

What does it mean to be “fully” vaccinated?

The College considers an individual to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series (such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) and after they have received one COVID-19 booster shot once eligible. 

Which COVID-19 vaccines qualify to meet the vaccination requirement? 


In order to meet the vaccination requirement, you must receive a COVID-19 vaccination authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing (WHO/EUL).

FDA-Authorized:

  • Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
  • Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine 

WHO/EUL-Authorized:

  • AstraZeneca/Oxford (SK-BIO and Covashield)
  • Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac)

Do I need to be vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19?

Yes. Anyone who previously had COVID-19 is still required to be vaccinated. However, the CDC recommends that if you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma you should wait ninety (90) days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Employees unable to meet Bowdoin’s vaccine deadline for this reason should contact Mary Cote in HR. Students unable to meet Bowdoin’s vaccine deadline for this reason should contact the health center.

Do visitors to campus have to prove they have been vaccinated?
Campus grounds are open to the public. Indoor campus events that are open to the public require attendees to provide evidence of being fully vaccinated. The College considers an individual to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series (such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) and after they have received one COVID-19 booster shot once eligible. With the exception of events open to the public, access to campus buildings will be restricted to Bowdoin community members.

Student-Specific Information

Are there any student exemptions from the vaccination requirement?

Students may request exemptions from the vaccination requirement for medical reasons associated with a health condition. There is no religious exemption from vaccination available to students.

If I have an exemption and am not vaccinated, what can/can’t I participate in?

Students granted a medical exemption are required to follow additional health and safety protocols, including the use of face coverings in indoor spaces.

What happens if a student refuses to be vaccinated? 


We are requiring that all Bowdoin students be vaccinated to protect the health and safety of the campus and Brunswick community. Students who are not vaccinated and have not been approved for a medical exemption are not able to enroll at the College. 

IMPORTANT: Students eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccination who have not submitted their booster information by January 21 may not return to campus. Students who arrive on campus without having uploaded their booster information will not have access to their rooms or to campus dining.

Faculty and Staff-Specific Information

Are there any faculty and staff exemptions from the vaccination requirement?

Faculty and staff may request exemptions from the vaccination requirement for medical reasons associated with a health condition or for sincerely held religious beliefs.

How do I apply for an exemption?

  • Medical: Faculty and staff requesting a medical exemption must present to Mary Cote in human resources (HR)(email: mcote@bowdoin.edu, phone: 207-725-3033) documentation from their health care provider of a medical condition that is in conflict with the vaccination requirement.
  • Religious: Faculty and staff requesting an exemption based on a sincerely held religious belief that precludes them from receiving the vaccine must submit a request in writing for this exemption to Mary Cote in HR (email: mcote@bowdoin.edu, phone: 207-725-3033), Note: no exemption will be made based on an employee’s philosophical or political objection to receiving the vaccine.

If I am approved for an exemption from the vaccination requirement, am I expected to work on campus?
Yes. Faculty and staff granted medical or religious exemptions will be expected to work on campus and required to follow additional health and safety protocols, which are likely to include the use of face coverings indoors, regular COVID-19 testing, and, to protect themselves and others, possible changes in work schedules and procedures. HR will, as needed, engage with employees granted medical exemptions to determine what reasonable workplace accommodations may be appropriate. 

Do faculty who are on sabbatical need to be vaccinated?
Generally, no. But if the faculty member plans to be inside campus buildings while on sabbatical, then a vaccination is required.

What if I fail to comply with the booster requirement?
Employees (administrative and support staff) who are eligible to receive a booster and do not comply by the January 21 deadline, will be placed on unpaid leave as of January 21. To be considered in compliance you must submit a new image of your CDC vaccination card as proof of your booster in Workday by the January 21 deadline. While on unpaid leave, you can choose to keep your elections for medical, dental and vision coverage through the end of February. Mary Cote in Human Resources will work with you on your leave and make arrangements with you to pay for the cost of the coverages you maintain. All other benefits end on January 21. On February 28, 2022, your employment with the College will end if you have not provided proof of having received the COVID booster. You will then receive a payout of any accrued, but unused vacation time and be extended COBRA continuation rights.

Employees who are not currently eligible to receive a booster by the January 21 deadline, must comply within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible. Similarly, if an employee makes the decision not to comply within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible, they will be placed on unpaid leave as outlined above thirty days after becoming eligible and employment will end one month from that date.

For faculty who fail to comply, the Dean for Academic Affairs will determine appropriate next steps, following guidelines in the Faculty Handbook.