Skip to main content
Menu Search & Directory

SLU COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Beginning in fall 2021, Saint Louis University will require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, staff and faculty who are physically present on our St. Louis campuses by Aug. 1. Vaccinations also will be required of SLU St. Louis students who will be studying outside the U.S., including on our Madrid campus.

As Billikens who are for and with others, we are expecting very high compliance with our vaccination requirement. A near-universally vaccinated University community ensures we can return to normalcy on our St. Louis campuses in mid-August, no matter if you are vaccinated or have a University-approved exemption. No face masks. No social distancing.

Exemptions may be granted on the grounds of religious beliefs or medical circumstances.   

Frequently Asked Questions

Proof of Vaccination

How do I let SLU know I've been vaccinated?

SLU has launched an online portal where students, staff and faculty who are living, studying, working, researching and ministering on our St. Louis campuses can submit proof of vaccination or submit their request for a medical or religious exemption.

Access the portal

What counts as proof of vaccination?

A digital copy of your completed CDC COVID-19 vaccine card, or of a vaccination card provided by the vaccination site where you obtained a World Health Organization-approved COVID-19 vaccine. 

What is the deadline to submit proof that I am fully vaccinated?

Proof of vaccination must be uploaded by Aug. 1.

What if I miss the deadline?

SLU is providing a grace period through Aug. 8 for those who are not able to make the Aug. 1 deadline.

What if I was vaccinated at the Simon Recreation Center through SLU?

You are still required to upload proof of your vaccination into the portal. If you lost your vaccine card, please email pandemic@slu.edu to get a replacement.

What if I am unable to receive the vaccine in my home country, or have only been partially vaccinated?

You can let us know your plans to be vaccinated as soon as you arrive in the U.S. by emailing pandemic@slu.edu. Again, we will have information about our clinics on campus very soon and the vaccines are widely available off campus as well.

What if I received my first dose of the vaccine, but won’t receive my second dose until after the deadline for submitting proof of vaccination?

Please enter the date you received your first dose of vaccine into the portal, and include the date you anticipate receiving the second dose. This will allow us to mark your record as partially compliant and know the date by which you should be fully compliant. After your second dose, you can then upload your final proof of vaccination. Please note that we expect you to get your first dose of vaccine as soon as possible.

What if I am a student or employee who is studying or working fully remote?

If your work or studies never bring you to any of our St. Louis campuses, you are not required to abide by the University’s vaccination requirement. Those who come to campus for periodic work, classes or meetings are required to be vaccinated.

Are contract employees required to get the vaccine?

The University’s vaccine requirement also applies to contract employees, including those working for our food partners at Sodexo, our Allied security partners and those involved in technical services and construction. 

Sodexo, Allied and all other contract employers will be responsible for managing and enforcing our vaccination requirement for their employees, including the collection of proof and processing exemption requests.

How will incentives or awards for those who submit proof of vaccination work?

Anyone who submits their proof of vaccination by the Aug. 1 deadline is automatically entered into a lottery for awards. We will identify winners every few days starting Friday, so the sooner you submit your vaccination proof, the higher your odds are of winning. Some examples of these awards include:

  • For students: Bonus Flex dollars, free textbooks, and free Bluetooth speakers.
  • For faculty and staff: Free parking for a semester, a $500 bonus, and grocery store gift cards.
  • For anyone: Season tickets to men’s basketball games, access to a private suite for one basketball game, a new iPhone 13, free subscriptions to different streaming systems, and SLU gear.

Religious and Medical Exemptions

How do I request an exemption? 
SLU has launched an online portal where students, staff and faculty who are living, studying, working, researching and ministering on our St. Louis campuses can submit proof of vaccination or submit their request for a medical or religious exemption.

Access the portal

What will qualify as a medical exemption? 
CDC guidelines about medical reasons one cannot be vaccinated (i.e., medical contraindications) will serve as the basis for our policy. If seeking a medical exemption, you will need to include a letter from your primary licensed healthcare provider detailing your need for medical exemption in your request. Such a letter is provided when one is seeking an exemption from our other required vaccinations.
What will qualify as a religious  exemption? 

A sincerely held religious belief is one that is either part of a traditional, organized religion such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, as well as non-theistic moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong, which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views. Social, political or personal preferences do not qualify as a religious belief. If you have received other vaccinations, you will be expected to explain how or why the Covid-19 vaccine is different under your religious belief than the other available vaccines to other diseases that you have received.  

What if my reason for not getting the vaccine is because of distant ties to fetal cell lines?

Saint Louis University’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement follows the guidance issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), published after receiving approval from Pope Francis.  

The CDF noted that “... all vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive.” Further, the CDF observed that “ … from the ethical point of view, the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one's own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good. In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination, especially to protect the weakest and most exposed.” 

As of July 2021, of the three vaccines most readily available in the U.S., the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were not developed using fetal cell lines. The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine was created in a more traditional manner. Nonetheless, the CDF guidance holds that should the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine not be available or that one’s personal risk requires a “one and done” vaccine, one should accept a J&J or other similar vaccine in support of the common good.

What doesn’t qualify for a vaccine exemption?  
Neither prior infection nor antibody test results will qualify as a vaccine exemption.           
What is the deadline to request an exemption?

The deadline to submit a religious exemption request has been extended to 6 p.m. Friday, July 23. No requests for a religious exemption will be reviewed after that date.

If you need extra time to see your licensed medical professional to receive a letter outlining your need for a medical exemption, please email pandemic@slu.edu and let us know the date of your appointment so we know when to expect your documentation. We will not process any additional medical exemption requests after 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1.

What is a personal preference objector?

The option of selecting a “personal preference objection” in the portal is not an approved exemption option. We offer this designation to individuals who do not have a basis for requesting a religious or medical exemption but are still choosing to remain unvaccinated for other reasons.

Students, staff and faculty who make this self-designation need to know that it communicates their intention not to comply with University policy and their understanding that this will result in their removal from the University for at least the fall semester. It also could result in their ultimate separation from the University.

How long will it take for me to know my exemption has been approved? 

Our goal will be to sort the exemptions and sign-off on those that meet our requirements — and those that clearly do not — as quickly as we can.  But we don’t know exactly how many exemption requests we will receive, and we will have to spend time assessing those that require consideration and judgment.

How do I contact someone if I have questions about requesting an exemption?

We have created a new email address, vaccineexemption@slu.edu, to help field questions on vaccination exemptions. Decisions and correspondence regarding this process will come from that email account.

What if I am denied an exemption? 

If your request for a religious or medical exemption is denied, you are expected to get vaccinated in order to live, work or learn on campus at Saint Louis University. There will be a grace period provided to you to get a COVID-19 vaccine at the time of your exemption decision. Remote learning and work will not be an option for those who are denied an exemption.

Will remote learning or working be an option for me if I am denied an exemption?

No. If your request for a religious or medical exemption is denied, you are expected to get vaccinated in order to live, work or learn on campus at Saint Louis University. There will be a grace period provided to you to get a COVID-19 vaccine at the time of your exemption decision. Remote learning and work will not be an option for those who are denied an exemption.

What if I refuse to comply?

A small number of members of our community have voiced their firm refusal to be vaccinated should their request for an exemption be denied. In the end, especially with the Delta variant fueling COVID infections in Missouri towns with low vaccination rates, we hope our campus community will see that vaccination is the optimal way to protect ourselves and one another — and to abide by the common bond of our Jesuit values.

While we hope for 100% compliance with this requirement (either by being fully vaccinated or obtaining an approved medical or religious exemption) we are realistic that valued members of our community will likely not comply and must accept that unfortunate reality. Accordingly, the University has adopted recommendations of a working group of faculty, students and staff for a series of escalating actions that ultimately provides for separation from the University for anyone choosing not to comply with the University’s vaccine requirement without a valid medical or religious exemption.

What if I am already exempt from other vaccines?

While existing medical or religious accommodations for SLU-mandated vaccines are helpful to your request for exemption, you will still need to apply for a separate exemption from our COVID-19 vaccine requirement using the forthcoming portal.

General FAQ

Can I still get vaccinated at SLU?

Yes. As a state-approved vaccination site, we will be offering multiple opportunities for you to receive your COVID-19 vaccine on campus this summer and at the start of the fall semester.  Email pandemic@slu.edu with any scheduling questions or concerns.  

Schedule your vaccination appointment now 

What will happen at my vaccine appointment? 

Before You Come: We require everyone to fill out a consent form prior to vaccination. You can fill it out in person at the clinic, or print it and bring it with you. Please wear a loose fitting shirt that allows easy access to your upper arm, where the vaccine will be administered. Do not attend the vaccine clinic or come to campus if you are feeling ill. 

Timing: Please expect our vaccination process to take 30+ minutes, including at least 15 minutes of required observation after you receive the vaccine.

Parking: Please park in the Laclede Avenue Garage. The gates will be open during our clinics.

More detailed information will be sent to you when your appointment is confirmed. Walk-ins are not permitted. 

Watch a Video About Vaccine Distribution at SLU

Are there other places I can get vaccinated?

Yes. Vaccines also are offered at most pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, Target and others. You can visit Vaccines.gov to search for COVID-19 vaccines in your hometown here, using your zip code. 

Find COVID-19 vaccines near you

If I get vaccinated, does that mean I don’t have to wear a face mask anymore or follow other public health safeguards?

Under the fall plan, all University community members — whether fully or partially vaccinated or having obtained a University-approved vaccine exemption — can study, live and work on our St. Louis campuses without having to wear a face mask or maintain 6 feet of social distance.

If I have been fully vaccinated and then get exposed to COVID-19, do I still have to quarantine?

Per the latest guidance from the CDC, people who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to be quarantined if they have had close contact with a COVID-19-positive person. “Fully vaccinated” means being two weeks past your final dose. If you are fully vaccinated, you will not need to quarantine after exposure to an infected individual. You must provide evidence of completing your vaccine series. The vaccination site provides you with a Vaccination Record Card at the time of immunization. Take a picture of that card and don’t forget to report your vaccination dates to the University.

If I have been fully vaccinated would I still have to be tested if I have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Yes. Based on current CDC guidance, even fully vaccinated students would need to be tested if they were identified through the contact tracing process as a close contact of someone who tested positive or part of a cluster. This also applies to fully vaccinated students who begin exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, as well as all members of athletics teams that require regular asymptomatic testing per NCAA guidelines.

How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?    

Per the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. They do this by leaving the body with a supply of certain cells that will remember how to fight that virus in the future. None of the COVID-19 vaccines are live-virus vaccines. 

You can learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work on the CDC website. You’ll also find information about the three types of vaccines currently approved for use, including how they are administered and their possible side effects.