COVID-19 booster vaccine requirement and spring semester arrival information

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Booster Requirement

In light of recommendations from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose guidance we have and will continue to follow, effective January 24, 2022 all eligible students and employees will be required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot. By that date, all eligible individuals should have received the booster or do so within 30 days of becoming eligible. For example, an individual who is eligible now should receive a booster by January 24, 2022, but an individual who is eligible December 31, 2021 should plan to receive a booster by January 30, 2022. 

In early January, we will provide booster documentation submission information.

This requirement, combined with adherence to other health and safety protocols — such as wearing a mask indoors, participating in the College’s testing program and practicing physical distancing — will continue to keep our community safe. 

Eligibility and Making an Appointment

Currently, anyone living, working or studying in Massachusetts who is age 18 or over is eligible for a booster, provided it has been at least six months since their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or at least two months since their first dose of Johnson & Johnson. Please refer to the CDC webpage for further eligibility guidance. A reminder that an individual does not need to be a legal resident of Massachusetts to receive their booster in the state, and no ID is required. 

Please review the Massachusetts DPH website for further information and utilize their vaxfinder page to make an appointment. The UMass Amherst Campus Center is listed among other available booster locations close to the Mount Holyoke campus. If you need transportation to your appointment, please refer to the College’s transportation resources page for maps, schedules and services. Talk to your healthcare provider about any personal medical concerns you may have. Faculty and staff should work with their supervisors should they need to use work time to get their booster shots. 

Exemptions and Clarifications

Some members of our community qualified for medical or religious exemptions from the initial COVID-19 vaccine requirement. These exemptions will apply to the booster requirement as well.   

Those who received a non-mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for their initial series or who received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of the United States should follow the corresponding CDC guidance

We understand some students who are currently eligible or will soon become eligible for a booster shot may not have access to boosters over the winter break or January Intersession. These individuals should email Health Services at The email subject line should include “need support for booster vax.” The College will work with them to coordinate getting a booster at the start of the spring semester.

The Spring 2022 Semester

We are excited to welcome both new and returning students to campus in January of 2022 and recognize that our diverse community will have varied health and safety needs. 

  • New and returning vaccinated residential students will need to complete a PCR test the day they return to campus for the spring semester. Any unvaccinated student will need to complete both a rapid test and a PCR test. This testing will happen on campus through the College testing program.
  • International students should refer to CDC guidance for information regarding air travel, vaccination and testing requirements and vaccination exceptions. 
  • Any student who is eligible for a booster shot but has yet to receive it should make arrangements to receive their booster over the winter break and/or January Intersession. Those who are unable to do so should contact health services ( as soon as possible
  • Students who are not yet eligible for a booster shot but who will be during the spring semester can find a local vaccination site near campus using the Massachusetts vaxfinder page.

In the coming weeks, students will receive further information regarding move-in and new student orientation directly via email from the Division of Student Life.