These Are the Colleges Requiring Vaccine Boosters Now

With the rollout of an updated COVID-19 vaccine targeting omicron, colleges have started requiring the additional booster for the fall term.
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  • More than 1,000 colleges require their students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Following the release of an updated COVID-19 vaccine booster, several colleges have released new booster requirements.
  • The updated booster vaccine protects against both the original and newer omicron variants of the virus.

COVID-19 vaccines and regular boosters may be the new normal in higher education.

With omicron becoming the predominant variant of COVID-19 in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that eligible individuals 12 and older receive an updated bivalent vaccine to prevent a spike in omicron infections this fall. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the new boosters on Aug. 31.

Schools Pivot To Require COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

The updated vaccine comes in two versions that have been reformulated from their original counterparts. The FDA authorized the Moderna bivalent vaccine as a single booster dose for individuals aged 18 and older and the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine as a single booster dose for those aged 12 and older.

While a large number of schools require the initial COVID-19 vaccines, and many require an additional booster, so far only a handful of schools have clarified the need to obtain the updated vaccine that specifically protects against omicron variants.

Colleges Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

Last Updated: September 14, 2022, at 1:45 p.m. EST

States A-M

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ALABAMA | ALASKA | ARIZONA | ARKANSAS | CALIFORNIA | COLORADO | CONNECTICUT | DELAWARE | DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA | FLORIDA | GEORGIA | HAWAII | IDAHO | ILLINOIS | INDIANA | IOWA | KANSAS | KENTUCKY | LOUISIANA | MAINE | MARYLAND | MASSACHUSETTS | MICHIGAN | MINNESOTA | MISSISSIPPI | MISSOURI | MONTANA

States N-Z

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NEBRASKA | NEVADA | NEW HAMPSHIRE | NEW JERSEY | NEW MEXICO | NEW YORK | NORTH CAROLINA | NORTH DAKOTA | OHIO | OKLAHOMA | OREGON | PENNSYLVANIA | RHODE ISLAND | SOUTH CAROLINA | SOUTH DAKOTA | TENNESSEE | TEXAS | UTAH | VERMONT | VIRGINIA | WASHINGTON | WEST VIRGINIA | WISCONSIN | WYOMING

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

    *Will require new omicron booster

Wake Forest University and Bowdoin College detailed in their fall 2022 plans that they will require the new bivalent vaccine upon release.

Wake Forest students will be required to receive the new bivalent booster once it becomes available, even if they already received a booster shot, according to a message sent on Aug. 4 on behalf of the executive vice president, provost, and vice president for campus life. The school will update its requirements once it determines vaccine availability.

Other colleges are more flexible in their expectations. At St. Olaf College in Minnesota, both the original boosters and the updated booster fulfills their requirements. However, campus community members who are 50 and over have until Dec. 31 to receive the new booster, if they prefer that option.

Similarly, Stonehill College allowed community members to sign a "COVID-19 Booster Waiver" so that they could wait to fulfill the requirement until the new bivalent booster became available.

Even if your college doesn't require a booster, the CDC recommends the vaccine for those ages 12 and over, which includes college students. Studies show that the immunity provided by COVID-19 vaccines wanes after around six months but that booster shots increase protective antibodies to fight a potential infection.

The updated bivalent booster adds omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike proteins to the vaccine, since omicron has proven more transmissible and resistant to the original formula.

The BA.5 variant accounts for 88% of all U.S. cases, with the BA.4 accounting for 8%, said Kathy Katella in a post by Yale Medicine.