Dear Physicians-in-Training,  

There are many reasons you chose to pursue a life dedicated to medicine—making a real difference in the lives of others and your community likely tops that list.  

As an organization dedicated to graduating extraordinary physicians, the health and well-being of all our students, colleagues, and our community are the top priority for us. To ensure we’re doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as variants emerge and cases start to rise once again, we’re adopting a new policy requiring students  to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 30, 2021By fully vaccinated we mean at least two weeks have passed since your single (J&J) dose of a one-shot regimen or second dose of a two-shot regiment (Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm-BBIBP, or CoronaVac). Please see the policy for details on accommodations and exemptions. Before that date, all students need to log into the AUC Safe App to either submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination or confirm that an exemption request has been made

Why We’re Implementing This New Policy  

AUC’s new vaccination policy was created based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), American Medical Association (AMA), and other local administrative or governmental agencies and ministries—and with the health and well-being of our students and colleagues top of mind. 

As we plan our full return to more traditional in-person learning environments, clinicals and other in-person activities for the fall semester, it's crucial we do our part to protect ourselves, our family members and others from transmitting COVID-19. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can help us do so—and it can help you keep the communities you serve healthier and safer.   

We understand accessibility of vaccines may be challenging for those not residing in the US, and we recommend you get your vaccination as soon as possible. Also, keep in mind that many students who have upcoming trips to the US are using that time to get vaccinated—you may want to consider doing the same.  

Already Vaccinated?  

We realize—and greatly appreciate—that many of our students are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Thank you for doing your part to keep our communities healthy! You can now quickly and easily submit proof of your vaccination via the AUC Safe App, which is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting this webpage

Benefits of Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine 

There are many reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are some key points to consider: 

  • According to the CDC, vaccines are safe and effective and were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA). Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC (Viewed July 2021) 

  • COVID-19 has caused a lot of severe illness, hospitalization and death. It’s our social responsibility as healthcare students, providers and educators to prevent the spread—and getting the vaccine is the most effective way to block transmission of COVID-19 between you and the community. 

  • You can join the medical community in leading by example: According to a recent survey by the American Medical Association (AMA), over 96% of doctors fully vaccinated against COVID-19 | American Medical Association (ama-assn.org) (Viewed July 2021)  

  • The American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, Association of American Medical Colleges and 50 other healthcare professional societies support mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of healthcare workers to keep the frontlines and the patients they serve safe. | Association of American Medical Colleges (aamc.org) (Viewed August 2021).

  • Once you’re vaccinated, you may be able to start doing more of the activities you couldn’t do since the pandemic began (depending on local guidelines and restrictions).   

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with this new policy. For Frequently Asked Questions, see below. If you have questions not already addressed in the Frequently Asked Questions section, please reach out to:

Remember, the health and safety of all our students, colleagues and the community are our top priority. Please help us do our part by getting vaccinated today.  

Thank you, again, for helping to make a real difference in the lives of our communities!   

Sincerely 

Dr. Heidi Chumley Signature

Heidi Chumley, MD, MBA 
Provost 
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine


 

GENERAL FAQS

Why is Adtalem Global Education and its institutions - including AUC - adopting a COVID-19 vaccination policy for students and colleagues?

As a leader in healthcare education, it's important we do our part to stop the spread and risk of COVID-19. The decision to require vaccinations is not one we made lightly; however, overwhelming scientific evidence has shown that vaccines are safe and effective at reducing transmission of the virus. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).  

Representing a milestone in the fight against the pandemic, the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine on August 23, 2021. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

More than 171 million people in the United States alone have received COVID-19 vaccines since they were authorized for emergency use by the FDA. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in US history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe. 

What is the COVID-19 vaccination policy?

Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization's (WHO) guidance, to prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19, and as an integral part of its public health and safety measures, AUC is requiring all students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning at least two weeks have passed since your single (J&J) dose or second dose of a two-dose regimen (Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm-BBIBP, and CoronaVac). Proof of the COVID-19 vaccination must be submitted through the AUC Safe App where permitted by local law, unless an exemption or accommodation from this policy has been granted. 

To be compliant with this policy, all students must log into the AUC Safe App to either 1) submit proof of vaccination OR 2) confirm that you have requested an exemption. Even if you have been granted an exemption or accommodation, you still need to log into the AUC Safe App to receive your “exemption” QR code. 

To request an exemption or accommodation, please contact the following: 

What is the deadline for submitting my proof of vaccination? 

AUC students must submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination or confirm that an exemption request has been made via the Safe App by September 30, 2021.

 

*AUC UK Track students: The UK Track program is a partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). As a student in this dual program, you will continue to follow UCLan guidance on COVID-19 mitigation, including vaccines. At this time, UCLan is not mandating vaccination. Once you enter clinical rotations, however, you are no longer enrolled as a UCLan student and will need to be compliant with AUC’s mandatory vaccination policy. Students will need to be compliant with the policy by the date they register for clinical sciences. Before that date, you’ll need to submit your proof of COVID-19 vaccination to us via the AUC Safe App. You can also voluntarily submit your proof earlier than that date.

On what guidance is this policy based?

This policy is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other local administrative or governmental agencies and ministries, and is designed to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws.

What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated” in the policy?

In the case of this COVID-19 vaccination policy, it means you have had a single-dose vaccine (such as J&J) or two-dose vaccine (such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinopharm-BBIBP, and CoronaVac), and it has been 14 days since your final vaccine. If you have received the first dose and are scheduled to receive the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or it has been less than 14 days since your last vaccine by the deadline to submit proof, you should contact the Office of Equity and Access immediately at equity@adtalem.com. By providing proof of your first dose and proof of scheduling the second dose, they will advise you about approving an extension to the deadline. 

Isn’t requiring vaccines illegal?

Mandating vaccines as a condition of employment or attendance at an education institution is legal. Adtalem’s mandatory vaccination policy is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other local administrative or governmental agencies and ministries, and is designed to comply with all applicable federal, state, provincial and local laws in all countries in which we operate. If your country, province, state or local area does not permit required vaccines, or proof of vaccination, you may find that information in the policy. 

 Is asking for proof of vaccination a HIPAA violation? 

No. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has protections for patients’ confidential health information, but it covers what your healthcare provider can share with others, rather than what employers and education institutions can ask for from you. Similarly, we have ensured that our process complies with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and all other relevant privacy laws in all countries in which we operate.

Which vaccines are allowable to satisfy this requirement?  

Any FDA or WHO Emergency Use Authorization-approved, or fully approved, COVID-19 vaccine, including. a single (J&J) dose or two (Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm-BBIBP, and CoronaVac) dose regimen satisfies this requirements.

Why is Adtalem doing this before the FDA, or other government agencies in other countries, have fully approved all the vaccines? 

Mandating vaccinations is not a decision we made lightly; however, overwhelming scientific evidence has shown that these vaccines are safe and effective at reducing transmission of the virus. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA). As a leader in healthcare education, it’s important we do our part to stop the spread and risk of COVID-19.

Representing a milestone in the fight against the pandemic, the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine on August 23, 2021. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.  

If I am fully vaccinated, will I still have to follow certain COVID-19 prevention measures, such as face mask or social distancing requirements?

Fully vaccinated (in this case defined as two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm-BBIBP, and CoronaVac vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine) individuals will still be required to comply with AUC campus safety measures, including:

  • Use of a facemask while on campus (indoors or outside)
  • Adherence to social distancing (6 feet indoors)
  • Completion of our daily health assessment on the AUC Safe App prior to campus entry
  • Participation in our random surveillance testing program

AUC UK Track students who are enrolled as UCLan students should follow vaccination guidelines and requirements as communicated by UCLan.

If I already had COVID-19 or can show proof of antibodies, do I still need to be vaccinated?

 Students are required to be fully vaccinated, regardless of having contracted COVID-19 in the past. 

Will boosters be required? 

As recommendations from the CDC, WHO and other governing bodies and agencies evolve, AUC reserves the right to modify this policy at any time in its sole discretion to adapt to changing circumstances and business needs, consistent with its commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy living and learning environment.

Do I still need to complete the Safe App every day I come onsite after I am vaccinated? 

Yes. As we do our part to monitor and quickly respond to any emergent cases, we are still requiring vaccinated community members to fill out the AUC Safe App health assessment prior to entering campus.

I am a student in AUC's UK Track program, based at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) campus in Preston, UK. Does this policy apply to me?

AUC’s UK Track program is a partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). As a student in this dual program, you will continue to follow UCLan guidance on COVID-19 mitigation, including vaccines. At this time, UCLan is not mandating vaccination. 
 
Once you enter clinical rotations, however, you are no longer enrolled as a UCLan student and will need to be compliant with AUC’s mandatory vaccination policy. Students will need to be compliant with the policy by the date they register for clinical sciences. 
 
Before that date, you’ll need to submit your proof of COVID-19 vaccination to us via the AUC Safe App. You can also voluntarily submit your proof earlier than that date, once we start collecting information beginning the first week of August. Instructions for submitting your proof of vaccination are available here

VACCINE REQUIREMENTS

What happens if I am not fully vaccinated by the deadline? 

If medical sciences students do not submit proof of vaccination or confirm they have applied for an exemption to the AUC Safe App by the September 30 deadline, they may have a registration hold on their account for the January 2022 semester. This may result in a reduction in enrolled hours. A reduction in enrolled hours may affect financial aid eligibility and/or awards.

If clinical sciences students do not submit proof of vaccination or confirm they have applied for an exemption to the AUC Safe App by the September 30 deadline, they may have rotations with weeks taking place on January 3 or later removed and a registration hold placed on their account. This may result in a delay in rescheduling clinical rotations which can impact your Residency Match timeline as well as financial aid eligibility and awards.

SUBMITTING PROOF OF VACCINATION

What is acceptable proof of vaccination?

You must provide proof of vaccination from a vaccine administrator or a CDC-issued vaccination card including the vaccination place, date(s), and name via the AUC Safe App. Please do not include any medical or genetic information with your proof of vaccination. Rest assured that we will keep your vaccination information confidential. 

I lost my vaccine card. What do I do? 

Contact the Office of Equity and Access at equity@adtalem.com and make arrangements with the government agency, company or store at which you were vaccinated to obtain another copy of your proof of vaccination.   

How do I submit my proof of vaccination?

Open the AUC Safe App on your iOS or Android decide and click the Vaccine Passport button at the top of your screen. You will be prompted to answer a brief series of questions and then asked to upload a photo of your vaccination proof. Your initial status will be blue (in progress) but will change to either green (approved), gold (approved exemption) or red (denied) based on our review.  

See our Quick Reference Guide 

How do I download the AUC Safe App

The AUC Safe App is available for download to your Android or iOS device via Google Play or the Apple App Store.  

What if I don't have a smartphone or tablet?

You can submit proof of vaccination via https://aucmed.apparmor.com/webapp/default.aspx?menu=Vaccine+Passport

Do I need to complete the Vaccine Passport if I've been approved for an exemption?

Yes, you must log into the AUC Safe App and confirm your exemption request or approval by the September 30 deadline. You can do this by selecting the Vaccine Passport button on the Safe App and then clicking Exemption Applied For. After answering the questions, you will be given an initial status of blue (in progress) before receiving a gold (approved) or red (denied) final status.  

See our Quick Reference Guide 

Who do I contact if I have issues uploading my proof of vaccination?

Our support team at asksecurity@adtalem.com is available to assist should you experience any issues.  

If I only received one dose of a two-dose vaccine, what should I do?

If you will not be fully vaccinated before the deadline but have received one dose and/or have an appointment to get fully vaccinated, you'll need to apply for an exemption with equity@adtalem.com before September 30.  

My status in the Safe App says "In Progress" -- what should I do?

Please be patient with us as we work to review and update your status. If your status is still pending after five (5) business days, you can reach out to asksecurity@adtalem.com.  

My status in the Safe App says "Denied" -- what should I do?

Contact asksecurity@adtalem.com for more information. 

VACCINE ADMINISTRATION

How and where do I schedule a COVID-19 vaccine?

You are responsible for scheduling and obtaining all recommended doses of an FDA or WHO Emergency Use Authorization-approved, or fully approved, COVID-19 vaccine. In the event you are unable to obtain the vaccine due to your physical location or health reasons, you will need to follow the Accommodation and Exemption Request Process. 

I am getting the vaccine, but I won’t have both doses by the deadline. What do I do? 

Please contact the Office of Equity and Access at equity@adtalem.com with proof of your first dose and proof of scheduling the second dose. They will advise you about approving an extension to be fully vaccinated. 

ACCOMMODATION AND EXEMPTION REQUESTS

What does the disability accommodation policy entail and how do I apply?

The disability accommodation policy provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities that enable them to perform their job or student duties. Reasonable accommodation may include appropriate adjustment or modifications of policies, including this Mandatory Vaccination Policy. 

If you believe you need an accommodation regarding this policy because of a disability, you are responsible for requesting a reasonable accommodation from the institution or program’s disability services provider. The Office of Student Disability Services can be reached at 855.229.0848 or the appropriate email address below to begin the request process. Please note documentation will be required as part of the process. 

aucosds@adtalem.com

What does the religious accommodation entail and how do I apply?

Adtalem Global Education and its institutions provide reasonable accommodations to students with sincerely held religious beliefs or practices that conflict with getting vaccinated or receiving the type of vaccine currently available. 

If you believe you need an accommodation regarding this policy because of your sincerely held religious belief, you are responsible for requesting a reasonable accommodation from the Office of Equity and Access at equity@adtalem.com

To expedite the review of your request, please provide the following as one document along with your submission: 

  • How the requested accommodation will fulfill your need to meet your religious beliefs (i.e., how a sincerely held religious belief, practice or observation conflicts with the requirements in AUC’s student COVID-19 Vaccination Policy); and 

  • Any additional relevant information the student wants considered in the review. 

What does exemption for access reasons include?

 Exemptions for students who are unable to access the vaccine may be available on a case-by-case basis. Students requesting an exemption are required to provide supporting documentation outlining why their circumstances prevent them from obtaining a vaccine to equity@adtalem.com at least two weeks prior to the vaccination deadline for your institution. For exemption requests not related to health conditions, students are required to upload a personal statement, along with the exemption form. Students receiving a vaccination exemption may be required to participate in increased levels of COVID-19 testing, masking and quarantine/isolation procedures.

I have philosophical objections to getting vaccinated. 

In the United Kingdom, and some other countries, this may be an area you should discuss with the Office of Equity and Access at equity@adtalem.com. In the United States, this is not a valid basis for declining to get the vaccine.

How are determinations on exceptions made?

Adtalem and its institutions make determinations about requested accommodations and exemptions on a case-by-case basis considering various factors and based on an individualized assessment in each situation. Adtalem and its institutions strive to make these determinations expeditiously and in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner and will inform you after we make a determination.

COVID-19 VACCINE RESOURCES

IN ADDITION TO THE RESOURCES BELOW, YOU CAN VISIT THE CDC’S VACCINE RESOURCE WEBPAGE,WHICH LINKS TO EACH STATE’S VACCINE RESOURCES.