Vaccine Updates

Oberlin plans to add a significant component to its layered health care strategy, pending Ohio Department of Health approval for the college to become a vaccine distribution location.


For the latest information about vaccinations on campus, see ObieSafe Bulletin: Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations.

The college will follow state vaccination guidelines for distribution (COVID-19 Vaccination Program). Oberlin will be a closed pod, only vaccinating students, faculty, staff, and vendors who choose to receive the vaccine. If the approval is granted, the college does not anticipate much notice before vaccine doses become available. That means the college will only be able to offer short notice for those who meet state guidelines and wish to schedule a vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccinations decrease the potential for serious illness, hospitalization and death. If recipients contract a future COVID-19 infection, they will likely experience mild or no symptoms.

Vaccines, known as “acquired” immunity, are a safer way to build immunity than natural immunity. The approved vaccines are not a live virus therefore a person cannot contract the disease from the vaccine. The vaccines facilitate the process in which the immune system builds the antibodies needed to fight future exposure.

Vaccines are the best way to stop the spread of variants and prevent new ones from emerging. If the virus can’t replicate, it can’t mutate.

Updates and changes will be made to the FAQs as additional information is available.

I meet the current State of Ohio guidelines for vaccines. Should I wait to receive a vaccine at the Oberlin clinic?

Oberlin does not know when we will receive vaccines, therefore it is in your best interest to obtain a vaccine at one of the regional providers if you currently are eligible. Most appointments are scheduled online.

Where can I find a vaccine if I’m currently eligible for one?

Ohio’s new Vaccine Management Solution (VMS) is a streamlined tool to help Ohioans determine vaccine eligibility, find providers, and receive updates.

Visit Ohio’s Vaccine Management Solution
View a list of COVID-19 vaccine providers in Lorain County

Anyone who receives a vaccination at a location other than Oberlin is encouraged to submit documentation to Student Health (students) or Human Resources (faculty/staff). This will help us determine the overall vaccination rate on campus. A high vaccination rate will facilitate return to a more typical campus life.

Process for submission of COVID-19 vaccine documentation


  • Open your Student Health Portal by clicking on the link from the OC Student Health website or through Oberview (Medicat).
  • Click on the IMMUNIZATION tab, click Enter Dates, and scroll down to Covid -19 vaccine. Enter the date(s) you had the vaccine administered. SUBMIT.
  • Take a picture of your immunization card given to you at the time of vaccination. Click on the UPLOADS tab, select Immunization record, click Select File and choose the verification of your Covid-19 vaccine to submit. UPLOAD.


  1. Take a picture of your COVID-19 vaccination card and save it to your computer or Android device (Note: You cannot use an iPhone or iPad to submit your card).
  2. Navigate to OberView in Firefox, Chrome, Edge, or Internet Explorer from a computer or Android device and click on the Upload COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card task.
  3. Read the instructions, fill out the form, attach the image of your card, and click Submit.
  4. Once reviewed by Human Resources, you will receive a notification that your card has been accepted or rejected. Rejection reasons may include attaching the incorrect image, the image being unreadable, or entering vaccination information on the form that is different than what is on the card.
What vaccines will Oberlin administer?

We do not know what vaccine we will receive and must accept the vaccine the state sends. We will be prepared to administer any of them.

  • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are administered in two doses.
    • The second dose of Pfizer is administered 21 days after the first.
    • The second dose of Moderna is administered 28 days after the first.
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered in one dose.
How will I know when I’m eligible?

Oberlin will follow the Ohio Department of Health guidelines for eligibility in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. We will send appointment scheduling information to those who are eligible.

What should I know about the vaccines before I receive one?

The Centers for Disease Control has excellent information on understanding how COVID-19 vaccines work. The website discusses how the immune system protects against infection; how vaccines work; and the current types of COVID vaccines.

The CDC also provides Patient Fact Sheets for each vaccine which includes essential information, such as side effects, contraindications and ingredients. The current vaccines are NOT live viruses therefore you will not contract COVID-19 from the vaccine.

How do mRNA vaccines work?

This 90-second video on Harvard’s YouTube Channel describes in non-clinical terms how mRNA vaccines work.

What age groups can receive the vaccines?
  • Moderna: 18 years of age and older
  • Pfizer: 16 years of age and older
  • Johnson & Johnson: 18 years of age and older

If Oberlin receives the Moderna vaccine or Johnson & Johnson, students under the age of 18 will need to receive a vaccine through another provider.

What will the vaccination process be?

Vaccination clinics will be held at Knowlton Athletic Complex with Mercy Health staff administering vaccines. Appointments will be done through OberView similarly to how students, faculty, and staff schedule their monthly COVID-19 tests. Monitor your email for alerts that vaccines are available. Oberlin will not receive advanced notification of vaccine distribution but will move quickly to open clinics. Appointments will be on a first-come, first-served basis for the individuals that meet Ohio Health Department Guidelines.

All vaccine recipients will be required to remain at the vaccine clinic for 15 minutes after receiving the injection to allow for monitoring for serious side effects. Please plan to be at the clinic for approximately 45–60 minutes.

Do I need to bring anything with me to the vaccination clinic?
  • Vaccine Forms (bring completed form to vaccination clinic appointment).
    • The consent will be added to the FAQs when the final version is available.
  • If this will be your second dose of vaccine you must bring the vaccination card that was provided when you received the first dose.
What should I wear to the vaccination clinic?

Please wear a sleeveless or short sleeved shirt to allow easy access to the upper arm, which is where the vaccine is administered.

What side effects should I expect from Moderna and Pfizer, which are mRNA vaccines?

Side effects are a sign that the vaccine is building immunity in your body. You may experience pain, swelling and redness in your arm. Overall feelings may include chills, tiredness and headache. These side effects may last a few days.

Many people report minimal side effects after the first dose, but more significant side effects after the second dose. This is because the immune system has developed “memory” so it is reacting to the vaccine.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Although the development timeline for COVID-19 vaccines has been considerably shortened compared to other vaccine development timelines, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has emphasized that the same strict quality, safety and efficacy guidelines are being met.

After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, vaccine safety monitoring systems will be in place to watch for possible side effects. This continued monitoring can pick up on side effects that may not have been seen in clinical trials. If an unexpected adverse event is seen, experts quickly study it further to assess whether it is a true safety concern. Experts then decide whether changes are needed in U.S. vaccine recommendations. This monitoring is critical to help ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh the risks for people who receive vaccines.

Who should I report side effects to?

The Center for Disease Control monitors side effects of the vaccine, through an app known as V-Safe. V-safe uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through V-safe, you can report any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.

V-safe will be discussed with you during the 15-minute observation when you receive your first dose of the vaccine. This is not required but is recommended as it contributes to vaccine safety for you and others.

Does the vaccine provide full immunity immediately?

No, it takes approximately two weeks for immunity to develop after a COVID-19 vaccine.

Do I have to receive the same vaccine brand for both doses?

The current recommendation is that you receive the same brand for both doses of the vaccine as each company tested its own vaccine. When you receive dose one you will schedule an appointment for dose two prior to leaving the clinic.

What will happen if students receive a two-dose vaccine but the semester ends prior to receiving the second dose?

We will consult with the Lorain Public Health Department regarding the best way to manage this situation should it occur. There are too many unknowns at this point to provide specific guidance. All vaccine recipients will receive an immunization card which includes the brand, lot number and date. This card could be presented to other vaccine providers in the student’s new location. 

Who should NOT receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer; Moderna) at Oberlin? (Information about mRNA vaccines)
  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The EUA fact sheets include ingredients.
  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get another dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
  • An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within four hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).
  • This includes allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate. Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Are there other criteria for who should not receive a COVID vaccine at Oberlin?

The following individuals will not be able to receive a vaccine at Oberlin but should consult with their healthcare provider regarding COVID-19 vaccine options:

  • A history of anaphylaxis due to any cause (allergies, bee stings etc.)
  • Current moderate or severe illness
  • Received another type of vaccine within 14 days of the COVID-19 vaccine; this could negatively impact the immune response.
  • Received passive antibody therapy (monoclonal antibodies or convalescent serum) as treatment for COVID-19.
  • Weakened immune system caused by conditions such as HIV infection, cancer or immunosuppressive drugs or therapies.
  • A bleeding disorder or taking a blood thinner
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
I had COVID-19. Can I receive a vaccine?
  • People who had COVID-19 are eligible to receive a vaccine as long as they have met the criteria for removal from isolation (10 days; improving symptoms; no fever for 24 hours with no medication to suppress the fever.
  • Those who had an acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in the preceding 90 days may delay vaccination until near the end of this period, if desired.
Do I have to wear a mask, physically distance and participate in COVID-19 testing after receiving my vaccines?

Individuals who are 2 weeks post-vaccination (after two doses of Moderna/Pfizer or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson) AND who have uploaded documentation will no longer need to:

  • Participate in a monthly PCR test.
  • Symptomatic individuals should notify Student Health and their physician.
  • Quarantine if exposed to a positive person unless symptomatic.
  • Quarantine and test following approved student travel.

At this time there is no change to the masking and social distancing requirements.

Is there a waiting list in the event vaccines are left over at the end of the vaccination clinic?

Although the Mercy Health staff will make every effort to draw up the exact number of doses needed for that day based on the number of appointments, there may be situations in which a vial has extra doses that need to be used that day. In order to not waste any vaccine, there will be a waiting list for these situations. The details of the wait list will be announced once we have additional information.

I’m concerned about safety since some students, faculty or staff may choose not to receive the vaccination.

There are multiple considerations related to safety including the level of herd immunity, the current rate of disease and ongoing safety measures. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient number of people are immune to the disease. This causes the rate of infection to drop because the disease has little opportunity to spread.

Mitigation strategies such as masks, physical distancing, hand washing and disinfecting surfaces will need to continue even once the campus community is vaccinated until it is known if the vaccine prevents transmission. Oberlin will follow health and safety measures recommended by the Center for Disease Control and the Lorain Public Health Department.