Disability/Medical & Religious Exemptions
The university has Procedures for Faculty and Staff to Request a Disability/Medical and/or Religious Exemption from the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement. Under these Procedures, employees must complete and submit the online Exemption Request Form with supporting documentation. Disability/Medical exemption requests must include the Medical Certification For Exemption From the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement.
Employees should submit their requests in a timely fashion and allow at least five (5) working days for a response, taking into account the vaccine schedule and the relevant deadlines. Employees who have received an offer letter and who would like to request an exemption request prior to their start date may submit the request as part of their post-offer process.
Cornell COVID-19 Vaccine Compliance Program - Overview
The university requires all employees, regardless of role and work location, to have an FDA- or WHO- authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine as part of comprehensive vaccination against this virus. To meet the requirements, faculty and staff must upload proof of vaccination to the Daily Check or have obtained a university-approved disability/ medical or religious exemption from the mandate, by the dates outlined below.
- As of April 11, 2022, the booster is strongly recommended and no longer required. (see booster eligibility below).
Effective January 1, 2022, all new Cornell hires must meet the vaccine requirement before they start work. Failure to demonstrate compliance with this requirement prior to the first day of work may result in the delay of employment with Cornell and may result in the offer of employment being rescinded.
The vaccine requirements apply to all Cornell faculty and staff members as well as temporary and casual employees, including those who work fully or partially from a remote location.
Currently, individuals are eligible for a booster shot five months after they have received their second vaccine dose (Moderna and Pfizer) and two months after they have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html to learn more about your eligibility to receive a booster.
Vaccination is free to all. The CDC offers a tool to search for vaccination sites near you. Local health departments and local pharmacies also provide information on vaccination sites, including the Tompkins County Health Department website. Employees in New York state may take up to four hours off from work, with pay, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Proof of Vaccination
After each vaccine dose, employees must enter that information in Cornell’s vaccine registry via the Daily Check portal. Entering information on the booster is recommended.
Cornell Vaccine and Booster Compliance Program FAQs
Employees hired prior to Dec. 31, 2021
- Vaccine requirement deadline: Fully vaccinated (two weeks after your final dose) or university-approved exemption on or before January 18, 2022
- As of April 11, 2022 the booster is strongly recommended and not required. (see booster eligibility below)
- Effective January 1, 2022, all new Cornell hires must meet the vaccine requirement before they start work. Failure to demonstrate compliance with this requirement prior to the first day of work will result in the delay of employment with Cornell and may result in the offer of employment being rescinded.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final dose schedule of an FDA- or WHO-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Yes. The vaccine requirement applies to all Cornell employees who are working partially- or fully- remote, in any location, and regardless of whether they are in a casual, temporary, regular full-time, or part-time status, unless they receive a medical/disability or religious exemption. This requirement covers employees who work for Cornell in states other than New York.
No. An antibody test cannot be used to meet the requirement.
No. Prior COVID-19 infection is not sufficient to meet the requirement.
Individuals who are fully vaccinated and have had COVID-19 are still recommended to get a booster. Generally, all individuals are eligible for a booster shot five months after they have received their second vaccine dose of a Moderna and Pfizer series and two months after they have received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The only exceptions are:
- If you currently or just recently have COVID-19, wait 2 weeks after your diagnosis and until you are asymptomatic before obtaining a booster.
- If you received monoclonal antibody or convalescent serum therapy to prevent COVID-19, wait for 30 days before getting a booster.
- If you received monoclonal antibody or convalescent serum therapy to treat COVID-19 (in other words, if the therapy was given after a diagnosis of COVID-19 was made), wait 90 days before getting a booster.
- Contact your primary care physician with any additional questions.
The message you receive notifying you of the denial should include the next steps you must take to address the issue identified during the verification process. If you can't locate the email or have questions, contact the COVID-19 Support Center.
Information about the vaccine compliance program and the exemption process will be directly communicated to employees who have not provided documentation in Cornell’s vaccine registry in Daily Check.
If you get the vaccine and experience side effects, you may be eligible for paid leave you are otherwise entitled to if you are ill and unable to work. If you choose to file a work-related injury claim, the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board will determine whether the claim qualifies for coverage under state law.
New York state is responsible for determining eligibility for unemployment insurance and does so on a case-by-case basis.
Please contact the HR Services and Transitions Center to discuss the impact of leaving Cornell on your benefits. Your access to your retirement accounts depends on your age and length of service.
No. If you are on an approved leave, you must come into compliance with the university’s vaccination requirements or obtain a university-approved exemption before you may return to work.
FAQs about vaccination at Cornell are available on the covid.cornell.edu website.
For more information, please access information on the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine What You Need to Know website and/or the Tompkins County Health Department website.
You may submit questions to the Cornell COVID-19 Support Team by clicking here. Direct personal health-related questions to your primary care doctor or medical provider.
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