COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs

It is expected that individuals receive their second shot of a two-shot regimen by January 17, 2022 or submit an application for a medical or religious exemption by January 3, 2022

Students and employees should upload a photo or scan of vaccination documentation through the Medicat portal at: An “upload” link is found at the far-right of the upper banner. Individuals opting for the two-dose vaccine (e.g., AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna) must submit proof by January 17, 2022 or submit an application for a medical or religious exemption by January 3, 2022.


If you have previously submitted documentation of completed vaccination to the Medicat portal, you will not need to resubmit.

Vaccination documentation is transmitted and stored in the Medicat electronic medical record system and is only directly accessible to campus medical personnel. Medicat meets and exceeds government and industry standards for the secure transmission and storage of medical information.  

Yes, information on vaccine exemptions is available on the university’s website Vaccine Protocol Exemption | Niagara University.

Information on vaccine exemptions, including the application for exemption, is available on the university’s website.

Exemption requests will be reviewed by individuals with expertise in the respective area and following consistent criteria.

Unvaccinated individuals will be required to wear a mask in all indoor public places on campus. Students will undergo routine COVID-19 surveillance testing.

The vaccine requirement is important to the health and safety of the university community, and noncompliance may include withdrawal (students) or separation (employees) from the university. Students who do not provide proof of vaccination or who have not applied for and received an exemption from the university will not be permitted to register for courses.

Students who are studying in programs requiring in person delivery and/or field placements will be required to provide proof of vaccination or have applied for and received an exemption in accordance with the university vaccine protocol. Students studying in fully online graduate programs and who will not be on campus (e.g., no residency requirement, no immersion experience, no fieldwork, no campus-based courses/jobs/services) and/or no clinical rotations in the fall 2021 semester are not required to provide proof of vaccination. 

The university will manage the information regarding vaccination status. This information is confidential and will not be made public to the campus community.

For information about the booster in Ontario, please visit COVID-19 Vaccine Third Dose Recommendations (

There have been a wide range of symptoms reported, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms range from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

These symptoms are very similar to the seasonal flu, so it is important to take the same precautions advised during cold and flu season, such as washing your hands often, covering your cough, and staying home if you feel sick. In addition, if your symptoms warrant, seek the advice of your healthcare provider.

To return to the fully engaging, in-person, living-learning environment our students want and expect as quickly as possible, we are requiring all members of the Niagara University community to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19, especially severe illness and death; reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19; and have been carefully tested among thousands of adults with diverse backgrounds.

Getting vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 will help protect you and it may also protect the people around you. Overwhelming evidence suggests that vaccinated people are far less likely to spread the virus to others. This is particularly important to protect people at increased risk, including individuals who are immunocompromised.

Given the medical and community benefit of COVID-19 vaccinations, we determined that the vaccine mandate is the most effective way, rather than requiring everyone to social distance and wear masks, to ensure individual and community health and safety, as well as quality learning. And according to surveys and anecdotal information, a vast majority of our faculty, staff, and students are either fully vaccinated or planning to become fully vaccinated in the coming weeks.

Yes, as per CDC and Public Health Agency of Canada recommendations, vaccination is recommended regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic coronavirus infection, including a positive antibody test. It is not known yet how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19, and although it is rare, it is still possible to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected. 

For persons with current COVID-19, vaccination should be deferred until recovery from acute illness, and if you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Please visit  COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario for vaccine availability on your area.

The University will accept the vaccines that have been identified by Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on their website COVID-19 Vaccines: Authorized vaccines - Canada.caVaccines currently accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel to and within Canada include:

  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

All three vaccines–Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer–offer clear public health and lifesaving benefits, providing protection against symptomatic COVID-19, hospitalization, and death. They are extremely effective at preventing death and hospitalization from COVID-19.

The vaccines are available to everyone free of charge. Some vaccination providers can charge your insurance company a small administration fee, but there are no out-of-pocket costs for any of the vaccines.

It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19, so you are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine.

Please keep in mind that once you are fully vaccinated, you should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.

The Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccine studies found that two doses were needed to optimize the immune response and provide the best protection from COVID-19. Therefore, the two-dose regimen is strongly recommended and will be necessary for documentation of full vaccination. In Canada, this may include a first dose of AstraZenca and a second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer. 

According to leading governmental and medical authorities, COVID-19 vaccines have been demonstrated to be safe and effective in developing an immune response to the SARS-Cov-2 virus, and research continues to support the safety and real-world efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s dedicated page on vaccine safety or the Public Health Agency of Canada Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines - If you have additional questions regarding vaccine safety, please contact your personal healthcare professional.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are very similar in composition. They are known as mRNA vaccines, given in two doses, 21 days apart for Pfizer and 28 days apart for Moderna. Your body uses the mRNA from the vaccine as instructions to make a protein that is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. Your body then naturally produces antibodies to the protein. Once your immune system does this, it makes memory cells so that if it ever encounters this protein again, it will remember it and immediately start making antibodies to it. This way, if you ever get exposed to the actual virus, your body immediately recognizes it, and knows to use antibodies to prevent the virus from getting into your cells, replicating, and making you sick. More information about Pfizer can be found here, and Moderna here.

Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine that uses a harmless piece of a different virus to instruct your cells to make the protein unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Your body then naturally produces antibodies to it in the same way described above. Find out more here..

After receiving the vaccination, you may experience side effects. These are normal signs that your body is building protection against COVID-19. Common side effects are pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These side effects could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more Vaccine safety and possible side effects -

It is not possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine, and myths and rumors such as these underscore the importance of finding resources that provide accurate information. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers a number of resources Vaccines for COVID-19 -

Niagara University Counseling Services offers numerous resources to help you manage the anxiety you may be experiencing due to COVID-19, including TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) Connect, a private, customizable, self-guided program that includes engaging, interactive educational modules and practice tools to help you understand and manage how you feel, think, and act. This free online self-help tool is available for all members of the Niagara University community.

Canadian students may utilize ConnexOntario at 1.866.531.2600 or to be directed to services in your community.

Niagara University will continue to follow the guidance from federal, provincial, regional, and municipal health officials. Currently, this guidance does not include directions for social distancing, but does require mandatory mask wearing.

Yes, regardless of whether or not a person is vaccinated, masks are required at the Vaughan campus.  


Students in Niagara’s Ontario programs and on the Lewiston campus are encouraged to take advantage of counseling resources if they are finding difficulty in managing stress and anxiety.  These resources can be reached at:

Counseling Services - Vaughn Campus:
Ms. Sabrina Buzzanca

  • Health related concerns can be directed to the Health Office
  • Academic related concerns can be directed to the Academic Affairs office
  • Residence Life and student life concerns can be directed to the Student Affairs Office

Yes, the University maintains comprehensive emergency preparedness plans and structures, including a specific pandemic illness plan that can be found at: Niagara University COVID Readiness Plan | Niagara University in Ontario

The University’s planning and response is guided by consultation with, and direction from, local, federal, and provincial health authorities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The University will use this site as a primary method to share information and updates.  Additionally, mass-email or other mass-notification systems may be used as necessary based on pertinent developments.

The following everyday practices are important steps to prevent the spread of all viruses and illness:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Masks must be worn by employees and students at all times when in the presence of others and regardless of the ability to remain 2-metres apart. This applies to classrooms, common work spaces, meeting rooms, etc.

All employees will be provided with one cloth mask, and students will be provided with two. These masks are three-ply, 100% cotton, and contain copper and silver, which provide antimicrobial properties. They can be washed up to 15 times.  Hand sanitizer stations and sanitizing wipes will also be available throughout the building.

All BPS students, faculty, staff, and administrators will be required to complete a daily symptom check using a comprehensive assessment tool that will enable us to monitor and track COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of infection while maintaining privacy.

Screening of graduate students will take place on a less frequent, but regular basis on the days that they have classes.

Students who test positive for COVID-19, or exhibit signs and symptoms, are requited to self-isolate in accordance with

Students should contact Health Services  at 716.286.8390 or email at View the Directory and the Academic Success Centre | Niagara University in Ontario for accommodations.

Our cleaning provider, Arelli Cleaning, offers exceptional skill and expertise in cleaning solutions. Their Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocol was developed specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a goal of providing an exceptionally pristine and healthy environment that mitigates the risk of infection. The two-step process includes both cleaning and disinfection.

To provide the university community additional assurance of a healthy work environment, cleaning supplies, such as disinfecting wipes, will be made available throughout the site for use, as desired, in work spaces and on office equipment, desks, and classroom tables.

The building has been modified as necessary to ensure compliance with guidelines regarding physical distancing, protective equipment, hygiene and cleaning, communication, and screening.
Signage that incorporates augmented reality to provide real-time physical distancing, entrance and exit information is being installed, as are floor decals denoting 2-metre distancing and traffic flow.

Furniture is being reconfigured to reduce density and capacity of communal spaces (2-metre spacing) and transparent barriers will be installed as necessary. This includes academic classrooms and additional spaces that will be used for instruction.

In addition to regular maintenance, the filters at the Vaughan site have been upgraded and the HVAC units within the leased space adjusted to enable filtration at a MERV 13 level, in keeping with commercial purposes of the building.

Niagara University, in concert with Cortel Group and the YRSCC 1323 facilities management team, will work diligently to make sure that air filters are replaced consistent with a preventative maintenance program already in place.

Telehealth and tele-counseling options will complement in-person appointments, which will be scheduled as necessary. There will be no walk-in services offered. For a full list of supports, please visit Counseling Services | Niagara University in Ontario

For more information about masking visit Face Masks

In the event of a suspension of on campus activities, Niagara University has developed a Continuity of Education Plan (CEP) that oversees the offering of courses, programs and services online or through alternative means.  In case that the Continuity of Education Plan has to be enacted, students, faculty and staff will receive updates via their Niagara University email accounts and on the Niagara University Ontario website.