Updated: June 10, 2021, at 12:30 p.m.
CWU will require COVID-19 vaccinations
Following careful consideration and assessing the direction taken by public and private universities within Washington state and nationally, CWU has decided to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty, and staff before returning to campus for the fall 2021 quarter.
This mandate is based on the advice of local, state, and national health department officials.
CWU has chosen to make vaccinations a priority for Fall 2021 because we believe a fully vaccinated community is the best way to protect our individual and collective health and safety.
Widespread vaccinations are the only way Central can loosen or remove restrictions that have impacted our social and mental well-being over the past year. The university expects that vaccinations will facilitate a return to in-person campus living and learning experiences later this year.
Vaccination Requirement FAQs
- Why are COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for CWU students, faculty, and staff?
We have made obtaining a vaccination an urgent priority because we believe a fully vaccinated community is the best way to protect our individual and collective health and safety. Additionally, it is only through widespread vaccinations that Central can begin to loosen or remove restrictions that have impacted social and mental well-being, and increase access to a more complete in-person campus living and learning experience for more students.
- What kind of vaccination proof is required?
CWU will accept proof of any vaccine that was authorized for use in the United States at the time of administration. For vaccinations requiring two doses, students and employees must have received both doses of the vaccine to meet the requirement.
- As a student, what is the deadline for proving I have been vaccinated?
Information about how to submit proof of vaccination will be provided in the coming weeks.
- As a CWU employee, what is the deadline for proving I have been vaccinated?
Information about how to submit proof of vaccination will be provided in the coming weeks.
- Are there exemptions to the vaccination requirement?
Current CWU policy provides for exemptions based on religion and health reasons. Additional exemptions may be considered as recommended by state health and legal authorities.
- Are those attending courses at university centers and sites required to be vaccinated?
CWU will follow the policies set by our host community colleges at all of our university centers and sites.
- Do I need to be vaccinated if I have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19?
Yes, you will be required to be vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination.
- What if I am an international student and I received a vaccine that has not yet been approved in the U.S.?
CWU will work with any international students and employees who may have received a vaccine that is not approved for use in the United States (i.e., AstraZeneca).
Where to get vaccinated
A number of local pharmacies, including Safeway, Fred Meyer and Bi-Mart, are adminstering vaccines. Use the vaccine locator tool to find a location. If you have questions about where to get an appointment, contact the Kittitas County Public Health Department.
In addition, some on-campus vaccination opportunities are being planned this summer, including pop-up clinics on the Ellensburg campus. Details to follow.
Educate Yourself About Common Vaccine Myths
Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. There are currently two types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized and recommended for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and a viral vector vaccine. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus.
Learn more about how mRNA COVID-19 vaccines work.
Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I want to have a baby one day?
Yes. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may get a vaccine when one is available to you. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.
Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will continue to study them for many years.
Do any of the COVID-19 vaccines shed or release any components?
No. Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the United States contain a live virus.
The mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or vaccines currently in development in the United States contains the live virus. This means that a vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
After getting a vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. Neither can any of the vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States.
If your body develops an immune response to vaccination, which is the goal, you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
Approved Vaccines Are Safe
The federal government has authorized and recommended three vaccines in the United States to prevent COVID-19: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The main difference between the three is that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses about one month apart, and the Johnson & Johnson requires just one dose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- All of the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
- Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
- CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
- Many people have reported only mild side effects after COVID-19 vaccination
Vaccination Rates Steadily Increasing
As of June 10, 2021, more than 305 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the U.S. since December 2020, and 141 million people (43%) are considered fully vaccinated.
Health complications are rare
COVID-19 vaccines are considered safe and effective after being evaluated in tens of thousands of participants during clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).
The three FDA-approved vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that vaccines are safe.
Results from vaccine safety monitoring efforts are reassuring. Some people have no side effects; others have reported common side effects after COVID-19 vaccination, such as:
- swelling, redness, and pain at injection site
- muscle pain
In addition, the systems in place to monitor the safety of these vaccines have found only two serious types of health problems after vaccination, both of which are rare — anaphylaxis and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after vaccination with J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
Long-term side effects are unlikely
Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.
CDC continues to closely monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. If scientists find a connection between a safety issue and a vaccine, FDA and the vaccine manufacturer will work toward an appropriate solution to address the specific safety concern (for example, a problem with a specific lot, a manufacturing issue, or the vaccine itself).