CUNY to Require Proof of Vaccination for Fall '21 In-Person Students; Staff, Faculty Must Submit Vaccine Proof or Negative Test


CUNY students who are taking in-person or hybrid classes must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and have their vaccination documentation uploaded in CUNYfirst by 9/27/21, so it can be verified and approved by the 45-day deadline, 10/7/21. Failure to do so will subject students to potential academic withdrawal from their classes that could also impact their financial aid and make them ineligible for refunds on their courses (the only exception are students who have been granted a medical exemption or religious exception).

You may still have until 10/7/21 to upload proof of vaccination to CUNYfirst if you:

  • didn’t complete vaccination on time due to medical reasons, unavoidable personal circumstances, or other reasons, or
  • experienced complications in uploading documents or didn’t upload the proper document, or
  • received a permission from your campus LVA to submit proof you’ve had at least one shot of Pfizer or Moderna and you will complete your second shot by 10/7/21, or
  • or received a permission from your campus LVA to submit proof you’ve had the Johnson & Johnson shot before 10/7/21, (students with permissions who are not fully vaccinated by 10/7/21 should consult with their instructors on how to manage missing classes until they are able to enter campus)

Other Exceptions

  • If you are enrolled in a hybrid course that will have its first in-person class after 10/7/21, you must be fully vaccinated before the class meets. You must upload proof of vaccination up to 10 days prior to the first in-person class.
  • If you are enrolled in a hybrid course that had all its in-person classes before 10/7/21, you will not be withdrawn from that course.
  • Students with approved medical or religious exemptions will not be withdrawn from classes for Fall 2021.
  • Medical Exemptions submitted after 9/27/21 and before 10/7/21 may be considered in extreme cases, such as if recent COVID-19 infection prevented vaccination (religious exceptions submitted after 9/27/21 will not be considered).
  • You may appeal to have your withdrawal removed if your proof of vaccination is submitted and processed and you believe your withdrawal was made in error. The appeal process will be the same as for other immunization compliance and appeals.

Fully vaccinated? Upload proof of vaccination in CUNYfirst, wait for it to be approved, then register for the “CUNY Access Pass” through Cleared4 for easy access to campus.

2. Didn’t get vaccinated? You will be withdrawn from your in-person/hybrid classes by 10/8/21. Check here for possible exceptions.

3. Visiting a campus for any reason after 10/7/21? Must upload proof of vaccination in CUNYfirst. Only fully vaccinated students or students with approved medical exemptions or religious exceptions and a negative COVID test taken at CUNY site within the last 7 days will be able to enter CUNY facilities. Unvaccinated students may still access emergency services if they present a negative test from the last week.

4. Only taking online courses? No need to show proof of vaccination or enroll in weekly testing since you won’t be physically present on campus.


All employees can upload proof of vaccination by signing in to CUNYfirst and clicking on the Vaccine Verification link. To complete your vaccination information, you will need the date of your second shot for Pfizer and Moderna or the date of your single shot for Johnson & Johnson; a scan or photograph of your CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card (or an equivalent document if you received your vaccination outside the U.S.), and, if you have the NY State Excelsior Pass app, a scan or photograph of your pass on your mobile device. 

If you are not fully vaccinated or do not wish to disclose your status, you will be able to opt out of testing if you have an approved request for a fully remote accommodation. Approved or pending requests need to be indicated on the Vaccine Information Page in CUNYfirst and will be verified by campus Human Resources offices after they are submitted. 

For a visual guide to submitting information to CUNYfirst, please visit here. For general information on getting back to working in person, please refer to this FAQ. If you still have questions, please consult your HR office. If you have a technical problem, please contact your campus or office help desk for assistance. All CUNY employees — vaccinated, unvaccinated or undisclosed — are required to follow the University’s Guidelines for CUNY Fall 2021 Reopening Where Not Everyone is Fully Vaccinated.


Send Us Your Selfies!

Lehman’s Best Answer Your Vax Questions

In this Lehman College discussion and Q&A, we answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and put common myths to rest. The expert panel includes Sandra Lindsay '10, a nurse, Lehman alumna, and the first person in the U.S. to take the COVID-19 vaccine in a non-trial setting.

More Vaccine Facts

We know you have questions about everything from the science behind the vaccine to the logistics of getting it. Northwell Health, New York State's largest healthcare provider, offers these and other helpful answers. Visit their website for more info. New Yorkers can call the New York State Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829) with any questions.  

Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Because there is currently no cure for COVID-19, prevention is our best strategy. The development of COVID-19 vaccines is an important step in helping minimize the effects of this potentially deadly virus. Vaccines work by training your immune system to recognize and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target. By triggering an immune system response to a virus through a vaccine, your body is better equipped to destroy these disease-causing microbes in the future should you be exposed to COVID-19.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective?

Yes. The FDA is responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs, including vaccines. Learn more about the rigorous scientific and regulatory processes in place to facilitate the development and ensure the safety, effectiveness, and quality of the COVID-19 vaccines.

How was the COVID-19 vaccine developed so quickly?

Scientists began work on the COVID-19 vaccine in January 2020. Dedicated vaccine funding helped move vaccine candidates through the pre-clinical/clinical assessments and trials both quickly and thoughtfully. This has enabled researchers to advance into phase 3 clinical trials (testing the vaccine on large groups of people to evaluate safety and effectiveness) in six months instead of the typical two years. The vaccine was mass-produced before the clinical studies were complete to save time.

Can various types of COVID-19 vaccines be given to the same person?

No. If you start with one manufacturer, you’ll receive the same manufacturer for the second shot.

Will I get to choose which vaccine I receive?

Because of limited supply and complex logistics, medical professionals will determine the vaccine being administered. The CDC generally advises that you take the vaccine available to you as long as it has been issued EUA or approved by the FDA.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause any side effects?

Side effects are a normal sign that your body is building protection. Some people may experience more symptoms with the COVID-19 vaccine compared to other vaccinations, such as the flu shot. The second or booster dose can produce symptoms more severe than experienced with the first dose. The most common side effect is muscle soreness or aching in the arm, which will resolve without treatment. Other common side effects after vaccination may include:

  • Swelling or redness where the vaccine was administered
  • Muscle and joint achiness elsewhere
  • Low-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

These side effects are expected, not serious, and will resolve with time. If you are experiencing symptoms more serious than those described or fever continues for more than two days, contact your doctor or seek care at the nearest emergency department. Make sure you notify the vaccine administrator of these symptoms prior to your second vaccine shot.

Can the vaccine cause COVID-19?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the U.S., including the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, DO NOT use the live virus that causes COVID-19. After receiving the vaccine, you may experience symptoms such as arm pain, low-grade fever, chills, or fatigue. This is normal, and symptoms will resolve without treatment.

How long will my COVID-19 immunity last after vaccination?

It is unknown at this time how long immunity will last; ongoing studies will help determine if repeat vaccination is needed and, if it is, how often we may need a booster. Therefore, after vaccination, you will still need to wear a mask and social distance until further notice. Factors such as how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities will help determine when we may be able to stop taking these extra precautions.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for women who are pregnant?

Studies have not yet been done to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for a pregnant woman or her fetus. However, the vaccine is thought to be unlikely to pose a risk, according to experts from the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and the CDC and the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). That’s because the vaccine does not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so it cannot give someone COVID-19, and the vaccine does not interact with or alter human DNA in the recipient.

If I had COVID-19 antibodies or recovered from COVID-19, can I get a vaccination?

Yes. You can get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’ve had the virus. Please note, if you’ve had COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy or COVID-19 convalescent plasma, you should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until at least 91 days following treatment.

back to top