Vaccine Policy

Required Immunizations

As part of the enrollment process at Saint Mary's, students will need to provide proof of immunization against certain viruses. The College requires the following immunizations:

  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella
  • MMR
  • Meningitis
  • COVID-19 (beginning with Summer and Fall 2021 semsters)

The College strongly recommends the following immunizations:

  • Hepatitis A
  • HPV

COVID-19 Vaccination Starting with Summer and Fall 2021

Our ability to come together for in-person instruction depends on suppressing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The broad immunization of our student body will be critical to achieving this goal. Because we are a congregate residential community, we must take every step available to prevent this highly infectious disease. Therefore, we have added the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required immunizations. This additional requirement will become effective at the start of the Summer 2021 term. To read more about this decision, click here

Immunization Exemption

We know a small percentage of students will have concerns about vaccinations, be it for medical or religious reasons. Saint Mary's will make every effort to accommodate a verified exemption, providing the request is submitted according to the following process: 

Medical Exemptions
Students with medical conditions that contraindicate receiving a vaccine must submit supporting documentation from their healthcare provider in order to receive an exemption from immunization.

A student must email the Health and Counseling Center at hccenter@saintmarys.edu to request a document that they will then give to their health care provider. It outlines the requirements for medical exemptions for an immunization(s) and advises the provider what information is needed by the College, and how it should be submitted. 

Religious Exemptions
Students requesting an exemption for religious reasons must email the Health and Counseling Center at hccenter@saintmarys.edu to request a document outlining the steps and requirements for a religious exemption. These requirements include a personally written, detailed letter explaining the basis for their objection to immunization(s), along with supporting documentation from an official representative from their religious or faith organization.

All documents required to support the request for exemption from immunization must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the start of  the academic term.

Upon receiving the required documentation, the request for an exemption will be evaluated by members of the exemption committee. 

Students will be notified of the decision via email or phone call by a member of the committee.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19 Immunization Exemptions

+Will Saint Mary’s College require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for the summer and fall 2021 terms?

Yes, the College will require proof of full vaccination for undergraduate and graduate students who reside on campus and/or attend at least one in person class. If you are scheduled to begin classes on May 24, 2021 and have only received one dose of Moderna or Pfizer, contact the Health Center at hccenter@saintmarys.edu for a temporary extension.

+Will there be exceptions allowed for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Students may submit a request for a documented medical or religious exemption by emailing hccenter@saintmarys.edu. All documents for a requested exemption must be submitted six weeks prior to the academic year or move in date, whichever is first. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, consistent with our process for reviewing requests for exemptions from other required vaccines.

+What is the exception request process?

Students wishing to apply for a medical or religious exemption for any immunization, including COVID-19, must email the Health and Counseling Center at hccenter@saintmarys.edu for detailed information.

+When is the last day to request an exemption, in order to start classes on time?

As a general rule, students should submit all required documentation six weeks before move in or the first day of classes, whichever happens first. Students planning to move in and/or start classes in the fall should submit all required documentation by July 7, 2021. Students attending the 2021 Summer term should submit documentation as soon as possible, keeping in mind there might not be enough time to either receive a decision, or make alternative plans, before the beginning of summer classes.

+Why is Saint Mary’s requiring students to receive the vaccine?

As a congregate residential community, we must take every step available to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as local and state public health officials, recommend that all individuals be fully vaccinated. It is encouraging to see the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently being distributed in the US have been found to be safe and are highly effective in preventing severe illness from COVID-19 as well as limiting the transmission of the virus. Adding the COVID-19 vaccines to the immunizations already required for enrollment will, if all continues to trend in a positive direction, allow for a safer and more normal experience for our students, faculty, and staff beginning in summer 2021.

+How can students get vaccinated?

The health department in your state of residency is a good place to start. They can advise you on availability and the process to sign up for vaccination. In Indiana, you can visit this link for additional information. In addition, national pharmacy chains such as CVS, Rite Aid, Meijer, Sam’s Club, Kroger, and Walgreens run vaccination clinics independent from the state system. The good news is that there is no cost to be vaccinated, even at the private pharmacies. International students who plan to be vaccinated in their home country during the summer, should contact Health and Counseling at hccenter@saintmarys.edu to receive guidance on which brands of the vaccine will be accepted by Saint Mary’s.  

+Are faculty and staff required to be vaccinated?

We continue to strongly recommend that all Saint Mary’s faculty and staff get immunized against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. 

+How can students prove they have been vaccinated?

As part of the enrollment process, students will need to provide their COVID-19 vaccination dates (two doses for Moderna and Pfizer, or one dose of Johnson and Johnson) and upload official documentation that they received the vaccine. Both the vaccination dates and a copy of their CDC COVID-19 Record Card are to be entered/uploaded into the Saint Mary’s patient portal through the Health and Counseling Center’s electronic medical record system. Newly enrolled students are required to complete a Health Form and upload their immunization records six weeks before they move in and/or start in person classes in the fall. Access to the portal for new students will be available in mid-May.

+Isn’t it true that Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) vaccines cannot be required?

No, this is not true. In fact, the federal government has made clear that the vaccines can be required. In addition, the federal Food & Drug Administration has confirmed that the three US-approved EUA COVID-19 vaccines have safely and effectively undergone rigorous testing.