Coronavirus FAQs - Vaccines

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Kent State University issued a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on Aug. 27, 2021 after formal approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration. Thereafter, the Moderna vaccine also received FDA approval.  

Since that time, on April 14, 2022, Kent State's COVID-19 vaccine requirement was dropped. However, members of the university community are still strongly encouraged to pursue vaccination.

Per the April 14, 2022 email: Across all campuses, 82% of employees and nearly 80% of students are vaccinated. In addition, 89% of the residence hall students on the Kent Campus are vaccinated. Beginning with the first summer session, COVID-19 vaccines, including all booster shots, are strongly recommended for our entire Kent State community but are no longer required. Being up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, including having all recommended booster shots, determines quarantine guidelines and can reduce risk of severe disease and hospitalization. 

Vaccines are the primary and most effective tool against serious illness and the best path out of the pandemic. Not only do vaccines prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death, they also help prevent the virus from mutating into one that is resistant to existing vaccines.

Vaccines and booster shots will continue to be available at the DeWeese Health Center on the Kent Campus and at numerous other locations throughout Northeast Ohio

Below are the most common questions to date.

Vaccine Questions Specific to Kent State

Reporting My Vaccine
Study-Abroad and Study-Away Programs Offered by Kent State: How Are They Impacted by Kent State's COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement?

All students participating in Kent State-sponsored study-abroad or study-away programs are included in the university’s vaccination requirement. Students who have a KSU-approved exemption must follow all host country and local guidelines for unvaccinated visitors. A KSU-approved exemption from the vaccination does not provide exemption from local law and regulations for COVID-19.


COVID-19 Booster Shots: FAQs

What’s the difference between a COVID-19 booster shot and an additional dose of vaccine? Do I need either one?

COVID-19 vaccine booster shots and additional doses (often called third doses), are now available at the DeWeese Health Center.

A booster shot is administered when a person has completed their vaccine series but protection against the virus has decreased over time.

Definitions as they relate to "fully vaccinated" and "up to date" - what is the difference?

  • The CDC defines “fully vaccinated” as a person who is at least two weeks past the final dose of their primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine. Primary series means two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • According to the CDC, being fully vaccinated is not the same as being optimally protected. To be optimally protected, a person needs to get a booster shot when eligible.
  • The CDC defines a person as “up to date” on their vaccines if they have received all recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster doses when eligible. Being up-to-date impacts quarantine guidelines for those who are close contacts. 

Which Booster Shots Are In Use?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for those who have received Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

  • Booster doses are recommended five months after the completed Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, or two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Those who are taking immunosuppressants or who are immunocompromised should check with their health care provider as additional primary doses and booster doses are recommended.
  • It is not necessary to receive a booster of the same brand as one’s original vaccine series. However, those who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are recommended to get a booster shot of either Pfizer or Moderna.
  • The Pfizer vaccine remains the only shot approved for youths ages 12 to 17, and the only brand of booster recommended for this age group.

Kent State's vaccine and booster requirements

  • Kent State’s vaccine requirement calls for all students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated. Kent State does not require COVID-19 booster shots as part of its vaccine requirement, however, the university strongly encourages booster shots for those who are eligible. 
  • If you already have received your booster dose, please report it here. The university uses vaccine and booster data to help guide our COVID-19 prevention strategy. 
  • The university may make a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine part of its vaccine requirement in the future. 

Why Are Booster Shots Important?

According to the CDC, available data as of October 2021, show that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, even against the widely circulating delta variant. Current vaccines are also expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection with the omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. With other variants, like delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths. The recent emergence of omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging.

COVID-19 Vaccines: How Can I Get One?

University Health Services is offering COVID-19 vaccines at the DeWeese Health Center on the Kent Campus from Monday through Friday, at varying times between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Use this link to schedule an appointment or call the health center at 330-672-2322 to schedule a vaccine appointment. While walk-ins are not accepted, those who want a same-day appointment should be able to register for one. The Moderna and Pfizer brand vaccines are available, and you may select which vaccine you prefer at the time you schedule your appointment.

Vaccines also are available at a variety of other locations statewide. Register through Ohio’s vaccine portal at

COVID-19 Vaccine Costs: How Much Is It?
  • The government is providing the vaccine free of charge, and health plans are required to cover the cost of administration.
COVID-19 Shots: How Many Do I Need?
  • Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine separated by 21 or 28 days are required for the Pfizer and Moderna brand vaccines, respectively. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one dose. Currently the Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for youth ages 5-17. A lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children ages 5 to 11. However, those shots are not available at the university at this time.
  • The COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable; recipients must receive the vaccine made by the same manufacturer for each dose. In the future, it is expected that additional manufacturers and guidelines will be available, including the potential for single-dose vaccines. However, for booster shots, it is permissible to receive a different brand than one’s original vaccine.
Eligibility: Who Can Receive the Vaccine?
  • Currently in Ohio, everyone age 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Kent State strongly urges all members of our community to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Would there be any problems if I were to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time or in close proximity to one another?

  • The CDC states that COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing.
Validity of Vaccines: Can a Fake Vaccine Card Be Detected?

You may have heard about fake vaccination cards in circulation. Rest assured, the system used by the university, Med+Proctor, validates vaccine cards that are uploaded to its system.  

Health Considerations

After Getting the Vaccine FAQs

After Getting the Vaccine

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

  • The most common reported adverse events were headaches, pain at the injection site, fatigue and a general feeling of unwellness. 

Should I come to work if I experience side effects? 

  • Some people in the clinical trial have experienced injection site pain or redness, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, headache and fever. These side effects may be more likely after the second dose of the vaccine. It is OK to come to work with very minor symptoms. All others should be reported to your doctor. Employees with a fever of 100°F or more will need to follow normal call-off procedures. 

How do I report side effects?

  • The CDC is expanding its safety surveillance through the launch of a smartphone-based tool called v-safe that you can use to quickly tell the CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It regularly collects text and email feedback. 
  • For those who do not opt into v-safe, adverse events can be reported in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Co-managed by the CDC and the FDA, VAERS serves as a national system for collecting and analyzing possible vaccine side effects. 
  • If you have questions about symptoms, talk with your doctor or schedule a telehealth appointment. 
  • In the unlikely event of a serious or life-threatening concern, go to the emergency department of the nearest hospital or call 911. 

What is v-safe? Do I have to participate? 

  • V-safe, or vaccine safety assessment for essential workers, is a smartphone-based text-to-web survey and email-to-web survey active surveillance program for early vaccine recipients.
  • V-safe will perform health checks at two periods after vaccination. In the first week after vaccination, check-ins will occur daily. After that time, weekly check-ins will occur for six weeks following vaccination.
  • The system will provide telephone follow-up to anyone who reports medically significant (important) adverse events.
  • Vaccine recipients will be provided details on how to participate in v-safe in their after-visit summary (AVS). It is not required but is encouraged. 



  • For now, Kent State is asking all members of our community, vaccinated or not, to continue to wear face coverings indoors, unless they are alone in a private office or lab space. Those who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a face covering outdoors, but the university strongly recommends that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear face coverings outside, particularly when they cannot maintain a safe physical distance from others. 


  • According to guidance issued by the CDC on Feb. 10. 2021, vaccinated people exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet the following criteria:
    • They are fully vaccinated and at least two weeks have gone by since receipt of the second dose in a two-dose series, or more than two weeks have gone by following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine.
    • They have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
  • People who do not meet the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Allergic Reactions: I've Had an Allergic Reaction to Other Vaccines, Should I Get the Vaccine?
  • There is a remote chance that there could be a severe allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, which could include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, fast heartbeat, rash, dizziness and weakness.
  • You should not get the vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction to a past dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • The CDC recommends a 15-minute observation period following vaccination for every person. People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy should be monitored for at least 30 minutes after getting the vaccine.
Anxiety: If this Situation Causes Me Anxiety, What Should I Do?
Breastfeeding, Pregnancy and Future Pregnancies: Can I Get the Vaccine?

If I am breastfeeding or pregnant, can I still get the vaccine?

  • Manufacturers that are testing the vaccines in clinical trials so far have not included pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding. 
  • Many individuals in these situations historically have not been studied in clinical trials and still receive vaccines. 
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that the vaccine should be available to pregnant and breastfeeding women if they choose to get it.


  • According to the CDC, if you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may receive a COVID-19 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, according to the CDC.
  • Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will continue to study them for many years.
Flu Vaccine: Is This Vaccine Similar? Can I Get Both Close Together?


  • The world is still learning how long immunity to the coronavirus lasts after a vaccination. Intensive monitoring and evaluation will continue after the vaccines are in use to determine if repeat immunizations will be needed. Booster shots are available. 


  • The CDC states that COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing.
Johnson & Johnson FAQs
If I Had a Positive COVID-19 Test Previously or Have Had a Positive Antibody Test, Should I Still Get the Vaccine?

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had a COVID-19 infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that individuals who have had a diagnosed COVID-19 infection should still get the vaccine but the CDC suggests waiting 90 days post-illness.

Should I Get the Vaccine If I Am Not Feeling Well?
  • If you are not feeling well, it is recommended that you wait until you are feeling better to get the vaccine. If you have scheduled an appointment to receive the vaccine and are not feeling well on the day of vaccination, you should cancel and reschedule at a later date. 
  • If you have a fever (100°F or greater), it is not safe to receive any vaccine.
  • If you are currently in isolation for COVID-19 or in quarantine due to a positive exposure to COVID-19, you should plan to wait to receive the vaccine until you have been released from isolation or quarantine