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COVID-19 Vaccine Policies

Why Are You Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The Vaccine Policy Team recommended and President Trainor approved policies on February 10, 2021, regarding COVID-19 vaccination of the Mount community. In its deliberations, the team prioritized the health and safety of the Mount community and student success. The decision to require students who will be on the Emmitsburg campus to be vaccinated prior to the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester was made in the interests of the health and safety of the Mount community and to best ensure a return to a near normal campus in the fall where students learn, live, worship, eat, play sports, volunteer and participate in clubs face to face. Students may apply for exemption for medical reasons or strongly held religious beliefs.

Vaccine Policies

All students and seminarians taking any class on the main campus (Emmitsburg) are required to be fully vaccinated except for those with an approved exemption.

A person is “fully vaccinated” two weeks after their second vaccine dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine). Students and seminarians who do not present proof of vaccination and have not received an approved exemption will not be permitted to reside on campus, attend any in-person or blended classes or participate in athletics.

Students who would like to apply for a religious or medical exemption for Fall 2022 should visit MyMount to complete the Request for Medical Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination form or Request for Religious Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination form.

All students and seminarians are strongly encouraged to stay “up to date” on their COVID vaccinations. You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible. See CDC descriptions of “up to date.”

Booster shots are strongly recommended for students and seminarians who are eligible to receive them.

Students attending only the Frederick campus are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated and boosted.

The MAAC and NCAA are developing health and safety protocols for NCAA athletic teams. In addition to all Mount Safe policies, student-athletes and athletics staff will be required to follow MAAC and NCAA protocols to be eligible to participate in their NCAA sport.

FAQs

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

  • All vaccines approved for widespread use are required to undergo extensive safety testing before they are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration or recommended for widespread use. The Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, now known as Comirnaty and Spikevax, vaccines have been approved by the FDA.
  • The Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both two-dose mRNA vaccines, and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen viral vector vaccine have been studied in multiple clinical trials, each of which has included thousands of individuals who were followed for a minimum of two months. Decades of experience with other vaccines indicate that most adverse reactions occur within the first two months of vaccination.
  • While these vaccines were developed quickly, all safety testing phases were completed, and the vaccines were shown to be highly effective in preventing serious illness.
  • The most common side effects are a sore arm, fatigue, headache and a low-grade fever that lasts for 24 to 48 hours. This side effects are a sign that the body is building immunity.
  • People who have had severe allergic reactions to other vaccines or injectable therapies should not get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • More than 350 million doses have been administered in the United States, with the vast majority of people experiencing minor or no side effects.

Why should I get vaccinated?

  • Vaccination gives us the best chance of a near-normal campus where students learn, live, worship, eat, play sports, volunteer and participate in clubs face to face. 
  • Vaccination helps to protect us and those around us from COVID-19.
  • Clinical trials show the vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness.
  • Vaccines are the path forward to ending the pandemic.
  • Most of the participants in clinical trials and early recipients of the vaccine have had minimal side effects.

Why are there differentiated vaccination policies? Students who will be on the Emmitsburg campus in Fall 2022 are required to be vaccinated, but employees and students in Frederick are strongly encouraged to do so.

The differentiated policies for students and employees consider the fact that students live communally and therefore are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than employees who leave to go home and can choose to remain physically distant.

How do I request an exemption from the vaccination mandate for Emmitsburg students?

Students who would like to apply for a religious or medical exemption for Fall 2022 should visit MyMount to complete the Request for Medical Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination form or Request for Religious Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination form.

Has the Catholic Church provided guidance on COVID-19 vaccination?

  • The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on December 14, 2020 that although the vaccines have some connection to cell lines connected to aborted fetuses, their use is morally justifiable in consideration of present circumstances. These circumstances are there is no vaccine that has absolutely no connection to abortion, the serious risk to public health and, most importantly, the need to protect the most vulnerable from the disease.
  • The Bishops' statement says: “The lack of available alternative vaccines, and the fact that the connection between an abortion that occurred decades ago and receiving a vaccine produced today is remote, inoculation with the new COVID-19 vaccines in these circumstances can be morally justified.”
  • The Vatican issued a statement on December 21, 2020 that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses” in the research and production process when “ethically irreproachable” vaccines aren’t available to the public. The statement stressed that the “licit” uses of such vaccines “does not and should not in any way imply that there is a moral endorsement of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted fetuses.”
  • Some American bishops have questioned the use of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, which they have labeled as morally compromised because cells from aborted fetuses are used in production to grow the vaccines. The Vatican and the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Doctrine have said that any of the vaccines approved as clinically safe and effective "can be used in good moral conscience." On March 4, 2021, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who leads the Committee on Doctrine said, "There's no moral reason to turn down a vaccine, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is morally acceptable to use."

Last updated August 1, 2022