Brown encourages students, faculty and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when they become eligible and to stay informed about the vaccines by learning about their safety, effectiveness and availability.

Brown is committed to providing up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccination and resources to help the community understand this important next step in addressing the global pandemic. The wider and faster the vaccine is distributed and utilized in the Providence and Rhode Island communities, the sooner more normal operations will return to the Brown University campus.

Currently, two COVID-19 vaccines — one made by Pfizer-BioNTech and one by Moderna — have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration, and more are in development. Both approved vaccines require two doses, and have been shown to be 95% effective in preventing symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and in preventing severe disease.

The vaccines are authorized for individuals over the age of 16 (Pfizer) and over the age of 18 (Moderna). Neither vaccine carries a live virus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Vaccine Distribution Status at Brown

Distribution of the vaccine in the U.S. is currently controlled and managed by federal and state agencies. While Brown has offered to support the state of Rhode Island’s distribution efforts, the University does not have a direct role in providing or distributing the vaccine at this time. That may change as the vaccine becomes more readily available, but we currently are focusing our efforts on education and advocacy to promote vaccine adoption.

In Rhode Island’s phased vaccination plan, some Brown faculty, staff and students are eligible to be vaccinated — mostly health care and other frontline workers — and adults 65 years of age and older also can register for vaccinations. The state’s timeline for vaccinations in Rhode Island offers the best indication of when others in the state will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Brown has not made the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory. If Brown decides to make the vaccine mandatory, medical and religious exceptions will be allowed, along with considerations for reasonable accommodations. Brown’s policies and protocols for vaccination will be based on the best scientific evidence.

Vaccinate When You Are Eligible

Given the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, members of the Brown University community are strongly encouraged to take advantage of receiving it when they become eligible to do so. For the latest information about vaccine availability, including a link to the Rhode Island Department of Health’s vaccination schedule, visit the Availability and Eligibility page within this site.

In the coming months, doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals and clinics will be offering the COVID-19 vaccine to a growing number of individuals. Your state or local health department may be a resource to you to help find out when and where vaccines will be available in your community.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be free of cost for all individuals. The U.S. government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the United States. In some cases, your health insurance will be billed for the cost of administering the vaccine, but not for the vaccine itself.

Continue Following Brown Health Protocols

Brown’s current public health policies and guidelines will remain in place even as more and more members of our community receive the vaccine. While receiving the vaccine is an important public health measure, it does not replace the essentials of mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, staying home when sick and frequent COVID-19 testing.

It is not yet known whether a vaccine prevents asymptomatic infections and if there’s still the possibility that a vaccinated person could transmit the virus without knowing it. Continue following these public health protocols, even after you have received your vaccination:

  • Continue to wear a face covering over your nose, mouth and chin whenever you are around others.
  • Continue to maintain social distancing, giving others at least 6 feet of space, when around campus and in Providence.
  • Continue to wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often, and to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand-washing is not immediately possible.
  • Continue to wipe down shared surfaces, such as desks and tables, computer keyboards and mice, light switches and other items.
  • Continue to follow your assigned asymptomatic COVID-19 test schedule and to document symptoms daily.

See the full list of Brown’s public health protocols in the COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy.

Check Back for Updates

The University continues to closely monitor developments regarding vaccine availability and distribution, and we are coordinating with state officials on a daily basis. As more information becomes available, we will update the community.

This section of the website will become an ongoing resource about protocols and guidance about Brown’s vaccine distribution plans.

Last updated February 19, 2021. Information on this page may be updated as the University’s planning evolves and/or public health guidance prompts a shift in Brown’s operations and protocols.