Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

University Vaccination FAQs

Below are answers to common questions about COVID-19 vaccinations, including questions about vaccination plans for members of the UChicago community.

General Questions

Who is eligible for vaccination when in the City of Chicago?

Effective January 25, Chicago is now in Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The city’s current distribution plan is:

  • Phase 1b:Began January 25
  • Phase 1c:Tentatively begins March 29
  • Phase 2:Tentatively begins May 31

People eligible for vaccination in Phase 1b include teachers and other employees at N-12 schools, and people age 65 and over. We anticipate that most University personnel as well as people ages 16-64 with medical conditions that put them at higher risk of serious health outcomes from COViD-19 will be eligible for vaccination during Phase 1c, and everyone 16 and older will be eligible during Phase 2. Please see the below for FAQs that address each of these phases.

Which vaccine is being offered through the University?

The University is using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which requires 2 doses approximately 3 weeks apart to be fully effective.

Will the University mandate the vaccine for personnel or students?

The COVID-19 vaccine is not required for University personnel or students at this time. COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications. There is no way to know how the COVID-19 disease may  affect you. If you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. Based on what is known about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe a COVID-19 vaccine may help to keep you from becoming seriously ill if you do get the disease.

Do I need to pay for the vaccine?

Vaccinations will be provided at no cost to the recipients; insurance will be billed.

Who should avoid being vaccinated?

You should not be vaccinated for COVID-19 if you have received any other type of vaccine in the previous 14 days. UCM has created a Q&A with additional information on vaccine safety and potential side effects.

Phase 1c and 2 Questions

General
Who will be eligible to receive the vaccine at the University vaccination clinic during Phase 1c and Phase 2?

Members of the campus community will be eligible in accordance with City of Chicago guidelines, including those who were already eligible in Phase 1b, and subject to vaccine availability. Current indications from the Chicago Department of Public Health are that most University personnel will be eligible for vaccination during Phase 1c. In addition, Phase 1c will include people ages 16-64 who have certain high-risk medical conditions that place them at higher risk of serious health outcomes from COVID-19. We anticipate that all other persons will be eligible in Phase 2. Among eligible members of the University community, those who self-identify with certain high-risk conditions may be able to access the vaccine sooner. It is important to note that the City of Chicago’s current guidance could evolve before the start of the next phase.

What are the plans for a University COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the next phases?

The University and UChicago Medicine (UCM) are preparing to offer an on-campus vaccine clinic for eligible members of the University community during Phase 1c and Phase 2, pending approval from the Chicago Department of Public Health regarding our distribution plan, and subject to vaccine availability. We have sent information to help prepare for this potential vaccination opportunity.

Are individuals at higher risk for COVID-19 already eligible for vaccination in Illinois?

The State of Illinois and City of Chicago independently determine vaccine eligibility. The State of Illinois has expanded its Phase 1b vaccine distribution to include high-risk groups starting February 25. Within the City of Chicago, officials have said that high-risk groups will not be eligible for the vaccine until late March.

Will students be able to get COVID-19 vaccinations before they leave the area for summer or graduate?

Because Phase 2 is projected to start on May 31, and UChicago’s academic year ends on June 12, we do not yet know how many students will be able to receive vaccines through the University clinic prior to the end of the academic year or over the summer, including what this might mean for graduating students. We are preparing for many contingencies with the goal of offering the vaccine to as many members of the University community as possible, and will share the details once further information is available.

What if I can’t come to Chicago to be vaccinated?

If you can’t make it to the Hyde Park campus for the vaccine clinic, you will need to consult local resources where you live in order to get vaccinated.

Will students employed by the University be eligible for vaccination through the University clinic during Phase 1c?

Although the City’s plans are not yet final, some students will likely be eligible for vaccination in Phase 1c as a result of their on-campus or classroom duties. This will depend in part on the City’s final plans for Phase 1c.

Will UChicago contractors and affiliates be eligible for the University vaccine clinic?

Yes, certain UChicago contractors and affiliates will be eligible for vaccination through the University clinic, including some temporary employees. The University has been in touch with eligible contractors and affiliates regarding the necessary steps for their employees. Employees of affiliates or contractors should contact their employer for further details.

Will currently employed part-time and seasonal workers be eligible for the University vaccine clinic?

Yes, many current part-time and seasonal workers will be eligible for vaccination when University personnel become available.

Will spouses, partners, or dependents be eligible for the University vaccine clinics?

No. Currently we are unable to extend vaccination opportunities beyond eligible members of the University community as defined by the City.

How will the University determine the order of who in the UChicago community is vaccinated during upcoming phases?

The University’s vaccine allocation policy for Phase 1c will be announced as more information becomes available about vaccine distribution in the City of Chicago, the availability of vaccines, and the timing of phases 1c and 2. We will make every effort to vaccinate members of the University community who are eligible as soon as possible, in accordance with requirements from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

I’m not sure if I should opt out of UCM medical record creation – for example, if I might be vaccinated through my own primary care provider. Should I opt out in that case?

If you’re not sure, we encourage you not to opt out of medical record creation through UCM. This will allow you to retain the option to be vaccinated through the University clinic if and when appointments become available. You can decide at that point if you prefer to get vaccinated through the University clinic or elsewhere.

Where will the University COVID-19 vaccination clinic be located?

The University COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be on the Hyde Park campus, subject to City of Chicago approval and vaccine availability. This is the only location for the University clinic. We encourage members of the University community to be vaccinated wherever the vaccine may be available to them.

Medical Records and MyChart
Why does UCM need to create a medical record for members of the UChicago community?

The creation of a medical record allows an individual to activate MyChart (if you don’t already have an account).  MyChart is the web/mobile patient portal through which UCM patients can schedule appointments and access their medical record. The vaccination clinic will exclusively use MyChart to communicate with eligible individuals as appointment slots become available, and those individuals will use MyChart to self-schedule their appointment.

If UCM creates a medical record for me, does that obligate me to receive the vaccine through the University?

The creation of a medical record does not create any future obligation for service. If you do not opt out of medical record creation, you will retain the option to be vaccinated through the University when appointments become available to you, but you will not be obligated to do so.

Is it possible that UChicago Medicine already has a medical record for me?

Individuals who have previously been a patient of UCM (including receiving care in any of their clinics or participating in any of the University’s COVID-19 Mandatory or Voluntary Surveillance Testing Programs) already have a medical record with UCM. This existing medical record will be used if you choose to be vaccinated through the University clinic.

If I’ve received services through UChicago Student Wellness, does that mean I already have a UCM medical record?

Students who have received medical care (distinct from counseling services, which use a different system) from UChicago Student Wellness already have a UCM medical record. 

Who will have access to my medical record?

Once created, information in UCM medical records will be handled in accordance with UCM’s Notice of Privacy Practices, which can be found here.

If I don’t opt out from medical record creation, what happens next?

If you do not opt out from medical record creation and if you do not already have a medical record with UCM, later in March you will receive an email explaining how to activate your MyChart account. Near the start of Phase 1c, individuals who are eligible for vaccination at the University clinic will receive information via MyChart about scheduling their vaccination appointments. The University’s vaccine allocation policy for Phase 1c will be announced in the coming month as more information becomes available about vaccine distribution in the City, vaccine availability, and the timing of Phases 1c and 2. The University will also share further details in the Weekly COVID-19 Update emails and on the UChicago Forward site as the City of Chicago provides additional guidance.

Individuals with High-Risk Conditions
How might high-risk conditions affect vaccine eligibility?

Vaccination Phase 1c will include people ages 16-64 who have medical conditions that place them at higher risk of serious health outcomes from COVID-19. Individuals who self-identify with high-risk conditions may be able to schedule the vaccine sooner.

How does someone voluntary self-identify as an individual with a high-risk condition?

Eligible University personnel and students were sent a link to an online form if they wish to self-identify and attest as currently having at least one of the high-risk conditions as outlined by public health authorities.

Which conditions are considered high-risk at this time?

The following are high-risk conditions as currently defined by public health authorities: 

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions – heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or pulmonary hypertension
  • Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity or severe obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Do I have to disclose the specific condition I have?

No. The form asks only if one or more of the conditions apply to you; it does not ask which specific condition(s) you have. We ask that individuals not disclose their specific condition(s), only whether they have one or more of the conditions as listed above.

Am I required to disclose that I’m an individual with a high-risk condition?

Self-identification of the high-risk conditions is entirely voluntary.

If I self-identify as being an individual with a high-risk condition, will that information become part of my academic or employment record with the University?

This information will be kept confidential and will be maintained securely and separately from other academic or employment records. The information will be used only for purposes of vaccine administration.

How will you make sure that a person actually has a high-risk condition?

Individuals are required to sign and attest to the truth of their self-identification as having one or more of the high-risk conditions. Because we need to help protect those considered most at risk at each phase of the vaccine rollout, it is critical that only individuals who have one or more of the specified conditions identify as such through this process.

If University employees are going to be eligible for vaccination in Phase 1c, do employees really need to self-identify if they have a high-risk condition?

Among eligible UChicago employees, those who self-identify as having one or more of the high-risk conditions may be able to schedule the vaccine sooner. Self-identification is entirely voluntary.

Phase 1b Questions

Who is eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 1b?

As of Monday, January 25, the City of Chicago has entered Phase 1b of vaccination, which includes people over 65 and certain types of essential workers, including those in N-12 education. You can find more information on the Chicago Department of Public Health website.

Who can receive vaccinations during Phase 1b through the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) and the University?

The University of Chicago is supporting vaccine distribution during Phase 1b, in close coordination with the Chicago Department of Public Health and UChicago Medicine (UCM). Eligible people at the University can be vaccinated through the UCM vaccine clinic in collaboration with the University. These populations include:

  • N-12 teachers and staff at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and University of Chicago Charter School
  • Faculty emeriti who are 65 and over
  • Employees of the University who are 65 and over

In addition, UCM is providing vaccinations to current UCM patients who are 65 and over.

What is the timing of Phase 1b vaccinations to eligible members of the UChicago community?

The first vaccine doses for eligible N-12 teachers and staff, faculty emeriti, and employees of the University age 65 and older were offered Sunday, January 31 and Sunday, February 7. The second doses were scheduled for Sunday, February 21 or Sunday, February 28, depending on which day the first dose was received.

What if I couldn’t get vaccinated through the University on these dates?

These are the dates that were arranged specifically for eligible people at the University. If you were not able to make an appointment at this time, we encourage you to be vaccinated at your first opportunity through another authorized provider.

How are those eligible for vaccination in Phase 1b notified?

University personnel who are eligible received emails with further instructions for registration. Current UCM patients are contacted through MyChart to set up a vaccination appointment.

What if I think I am eligible as part of Phase 1b but was not notified?

Please call our information hotline at 773.795.5374. Please do not call the main UCM Call Center for vaccination questions, as the UCM Call Center is for scheduling physician appointments.

More Information

Where can I find information on the vaccine?

The University of Chicago Medicine has posted an informative Q&A about the vaccine and who is eligible to receive it, as well as a video Q&A with UChicago Medicine’s Dr. Monica Peek and Dr. Stephen Weber. You can also find more information on:

Additional information for UCM patients is available on the UChicago Medicine website.

 

What if I have a question not addressed here?

Please call our information hotline at 773.795.5374. Please do not call the main UCM Call Center for vaccination questions, as the UCM Call Center is for scheduling physician appointments.

If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, promptly report to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu, even if you have not been on campus.