March 30, 2021

Dear Students,

We write with an update and more information on the COVID-19 vaccine. We continue to work with our partner at Hartford HealthCare to develop plans, and on March 29 we learned from the Department of Health that Connecticut colleges and universities should be able to receive vaccines for their students in early May. Until we have further information from the state about a plan specifically for college students, we encourage you to take steps now to get vaccinated.

Beginning this week—on Thursday, April 1—all individuals ages 16 and older in Connecticut will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Regardless of your permanent address, all students who are currently living or taking classes on campus can be vaccinated in Connecticut.

How to get vaccinated:

Once eligible on April 1, you can maximize your opportunity to schedule a vaccination by registering through both systems below and by searching the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Portal for an appointment with an independent provider. You are allowed to search for an appointment on all of the systems. If you have insurance, be sure to take your insurance card and ID to the vaccine site. Individuals without insurance are still eligible to be vaccinated at no charge.

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines and why we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated:

  • The broad aim of the COVID-19 vaccine is to change the illness from a deadly global pandemic to a manageable illness. In the individual, the vaccine protects against serious illness, and in the community, it limits spread. It helps to protect your family and friends.
  • All of the available vaccines have shown to be very effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
  • Increased vaccination rates in communities will decrease the cycle of transmission, thereby reducing the likelihood of other mutations/new strains.
  • The vaccines are safe and have an extremely low rate of serious reactions.
  • The most common side effects/reactions to the vaccine include soreness at injection site, headache, body aches, fatigue, and chills.
  • The vaccine is recommended even if you’ve had COVID-19. The length of time natural illness antibodies will protect you is still unknown. The vaccine will provide ongoing protection.
  • Please note that two weeks after a completed vaccine series, you are no longer required to quarantine after exposure to an active COVID-19 illness.

For more information about the vaccines:

Once vaccinated, what should you do? Please inform the Health Center that you have been vaccinated. Directions on where to upload your vaccination information will be sent out on a separate email by the Health Center.

Which is the best COVID vaccine for you? Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson? The best vaccine is the first one you can get on the day of your appointment. Each vaccine is effective for those 18 and older. The differences among them concern handling and refrigeration, number of doses, number of days between doses. None of them is far and away better than the others.

What other factors should I consider when getting vaccinated? Consider your schedule to help decide when to get the vaccine, including when you expect to depart campus at the end of the semester. Most students will have finals May 10-14 and then leave Hartford. Planning the vaccine doses appropriately so you can complete the vaccine series is very important! If you can’t finish both doses, opt to get your vaccine at home over the summer.

  • Pfizer dosing: 21 days apart
  • Moderna dosing: 28 days apart
  • Johnson and Johnson: one dose only, take it anytime you can get it

Travel to get vaccinated

We consider this essential travel, so you are allowed to leave campus, but we do ask that you inform us of your travel plans by completing the Request for Essential Travel form. It is especially important that we know of your plans if you are leaving the state to get a vaccine. We can guide you on appropriate protocols to follow when you return. As always, please follow all COVID-19 protocols to ensure your well-being and the safety of others.

If you have questions about the vaccine, please call the Health Center at [email protected].


Martha Burke O’Brien, APRN, Practice Director – Student Health Services of Hartford HealthCare Medical Group

Kara Anastasiou, APRN-BC, – Student Health Services of Hartford HealthCare Medical Group

Joe DiChristina, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management

Jason Rojas, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Relations