CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Champions

COVID-19 Vaccine Information For CUIMC Employees and Students

COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory for all University students, faculty, and staff—this includes officers of instruction, officers of research, officers of the libraries, student officers, officers of administration, union and non-union support staff.

Booster Doses

Faculty and staff: It is also strongly recommended that all faculty and staff be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, i.e., that they have received their recommended booster doses in addition to the primary series, including those who are eligible for a second booster based on age or with underlying medical conditions. There is currently no university deadline for uploading first booster dose documentation. The university will revisit its policies regarding enforcement later this summer. More information is available here: Update on COVID-19 Vaccination (Including Boosters)

Students: Columbia will require all students, beginning with the Fall 2022 term, to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. More information is available here: Update on Vaccination Requirement for Students

How to Upload Documentation

Uploading your vaccine and booster shot documentation can now be done either via ReopenCU website or via the ReopenCU app on your iPhone or Android. Please see Vaccine Documentation Upload Instructions or Columbia University Vaccination Attestation Tutorial for additional help.

Note that the IOS (iPhone) version of the ReopenCU app has now been updated, and documentation can be submitted directly through the app. 

  • If your app is set to automatically update, no action is required. The new version of the app, 1.7, should now be on your phone 
  • If your app is not set to automatically update, follow the steps below to update your app:  
    • Go to the app store and search for “ReopenCU” 
    • Select the ReopenCU app, and then click “Update” 
    • Once the app updates, the “update” button will change to “open” 

For questions or assistance with the ReopenCU app, please submit a ticket to the CUIT Service Desk, email askcuit@columbia.edu or call 212-854-1919. 

How to Schedule an Appointment

Individuals age 5 and older can get vaccinated. Those eligible to receive the vaccine can schedule their appointments at any of the NYC or NYS public vaccination sites. For scheduling at Columbia-operated vaccine sites, see instructions below.

ColumbiaDoctors locations appointments can be made via vaccinetogetherny.org or through your Connect account.

For information on scheduling booster shots, please see the tab below.

Booster Vaccine Doses for COVID-19

Booster Deadlines

Faculty and staff: It is strongly recommended that all faculty and staff be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, i.e., that they have received their recommended booster doses in addition to the primary series, including those who are eligible for a second booster based on age or with underlying medical conditions. There is currently no university deadline for uploading first booster dose documentation. The university will revisit its policies regarding enforcement later this summer. More information is available here: Update on COVID-19 Vaccination (Including Boosters)

Students: Columbia will require all students, beginning with the Fall 2022 term, to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. More information is available here: Update on Vaccination Requirement for Students

Upload Booster Documentation: All faculty, staff and students may upload documentation of their booster dose in either the ReopenCU app or via ReopenCU website. You can find instructions here and a helpful video here.  

Updates and Announcements

Flu Vaccination

Reminder: Flu vaccines are mandatory for faculty and staff working in NYP locations. Given the current COVID-19 surge, this year’s NYP Influenza Vaccination Program deadline for receiving the flu vaccine has been extended to February 21, 2022.  

How to get flu vaccine 

To receive the flu vaccine on campus, faculty and staff must present their CU ID and UNI to the nurse administering the vaccine. Workforce Health & Safety (WH&S) will be providing the seasonal flu vaccine free of charge to all faculty and staff at these locations and times (excluding holidays): 

  • CHONY Winter Garden (behind stage) — Monday–Friday: 7:30am–3:30pm (Closed 12pm-1pm) 
  • Harkness Pavilion, 1st Floor, Room 112 — Wednesday Evenings Only: 4pm–6:30pm 
  • Milstein Heart Center, Myrna Daniels Auditorium — Monday–Friday: 7:30am–3:30pm (Closed 12pm-1pm)  

The high-dose flu vaccine (for those age 65 or older) is available at WHS, Harkness Pavilion, 1st floor, room 112 (Monday—Friday; 7:30am to 3:30pm). No appointment is necessary. 

Testing, Daily Attestations, and Gateway Requirements

Thursday, May 12, 2022 was the last day of the University testing program. Gateway testing for new hires, surveillance testing of current affiliates, and weekly testing for those with medical or religious exemptions have been discontinued.

Testing is now readily available in public and private locations, as well as through self-tests, and surveillance testing no longer plays the important role that it did previously, in the context of high vaccination and booster coverage at the University. Wastewater surveillance will continue for undergraduate residential buildings. Should public health conditions change, we will reassess the need for on-campus testing options. In addition, the Contact Tracing Program will continue to provide information and guidance as necessary. Information on accessing self-testing kits is available on Columbia’s Human Resources website.

Community Outreach

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and wellness of our local community remained a top priority. Columbia University Irving Medical Center has partnered with community leaders, physicians, and community-based organizations to ensure that our community continues to receive the best care available. 

Supporting Access: When The Armory vaccination site opened, we directly booked appointments for community members who did not have digital access by phone, in partnership with community and faith-based organizations, community-based providers and our local elected officials. We have a large team of outreach workers and schedulers who call community members to address questions about the vaccine and schedule appointments. 

Partnering with Community and Faith-Based Leaders: CUIMC collaborated with community groups, senior centers and faith-based organizations to enable them to refer eligible clients for appointments. We are continuing to reach out to CBOs who can make referrals.

Working with Community Physicians: We have a series of trainings for community physicians to use a similar process so we can reach their patients, as well.

Working with Our Government Partners: We are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with our local elected leaders in Washington Heights and Inwood so that we can quickly operationalize any feedback they have about our outreach approach, and so we can support their eligible constituents who may be having trouble accessing the vaccine. Before we opened we hosted a tour to our local elected leaders and since day one have been in constant communication with them and helping them to register their constituents.

Providing Education to Combat Hesitancy: We have scheduled talks for community based organizations to help them educate their staff and clients about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. We have a Speakers’ Bureau of over 30 expert clinicians available who can provide culturally competent presentations at varying health literacy levels to a range of audiences. Presentations can be requested by emailing community@nyp.org.

Advocacy Campaigns: Several faculty and staff members representing Columbia University Irving Medical Center participated in videos produced to encourage their fellow New Yorkers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Their stories, captured in 30- to 60-second videos, were broadcast on major networks as part of “Roll Up Your Sleeves NY,” a COVID-19 public education campaign spearheaded by the New York State Vaccine Equity Task Force. 

Leveraging Social Media: The #IGottheShot social media campaign featured testimonials from NYP employees on why they chose to get vaccinated. We grew this campaign in collaboration with local community groups and community leaders.

Engaging our Communities in Various Forums: Currently, we are planning a number of other approaches to encourage our communities to get vaccinated, included but not limited to: launching a direct texting campaign; outreach through Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media groups; third party outreach and promotion of sites; an earned media campaign to promote vaccine access; and hyperlocal targeted advertising campaign to promote access to vaccinations.

CUIMC Vaccine Committee

Interim EVP and Dean Anil Rustgi, MD, has appointed a committee to address a range of issues related to COVID-19 vaccines. The committee, which is being co-chaired by Magda Sobieszczyk, MD, and Melissa Stockwell, MD MPH, will address the following:

  • Understand and assist in the equitable distribution of vaccines in the outpatient setting for faculty, staff, and trainees who are not in frontline emergency department and inpatient clinical roles. The committee’s work will complement the work of a University-wide vaccine committee and an NYP committee, both of which include membership from CUIMC. The NYP vaccine committee is addressing vaccine distribution to frontline health care workers. Both the CUIMC and NYP committees will also address the distribution of vaccines to patients in inpatient and outpatient settings.
  • Help disseminate information and identify potential educational opportunities to increase vaccine confidence among faculty, staff, and trainees.
  • Prioritize clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
  • Understand the ethical and mental health implications related to the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • Understand the needs of the local community and potential risks related to health care disparities.
  • Pursue areas that the committee identifies, including needs related to research and education.

Committee Members are:

  • Lou Baptista, MD Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Vice Chair for Clinical Services 
  • Ansgar Brambrink, MD, PhD Chair, Department of Anesthesiology
  • Jack Cioffi, MD Chair, Department of Ophthalmology 
  • Lydia Dugdale, MD, MAR Associate Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Clinical Medicine Ethics 
  • Dustin T. Duncan, ScD, Associate Professor, Mailman School of Public Health
  • Stephen A. Ferrara, RN, DNP, FNP-BC, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, School of Nursing 
  • Regine Grandmougin, Senior Executive Director, Patient Facilitated Services and Stewardship 
  • Andrew Lassman, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Chief of Neuro-Oncology 
  • Donna Lynne, DrPH, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CUIMC, Chief Executive Officer ColumbiaDoctors 
  • James McKiernan, MD, Chair, Department of Urology 
  • Rudina Odeh-Ramadan, PharmD, Vice Dean for Finance and Administration 
  • Biana Roykh, DDS, MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, College of Dental Medicine 
  • Steven Shea, MD, MS, Senior Vice Dean, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology in Biomedical Informatics
  • Magda Sobieszczyk, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Chief of Infectious Diseases 
  • Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Population Family Health, Chief of Child Adolescent Health
  • Olajide Williams, MD, MS, Professor of Neurology, Chief of Staff, Department of Neurology

CUIMC Vaccine Champion Program

The CUIMC Vaccine Champion program involves employees from across CUIMC schools and departments who will serve as vaccine champions and receive training from CUIMC experts in how to offer one-on-one peer conversations and support to their colleagues who have questions about the vaccine. Champions will serve as point people to their departments and arrange opportunities for in-person or virtual get-togethers with those who are contemplating whether to receive the vaccine. The goal is to provide opportunities for listening and interacting among peers and provide employees with additional resources and information as needed. 

Trainers include David Buchholz, MD, senior founding medical director for Primary Care; Shauna Gunaratne, MD, instructor in medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases; Patrice Malone, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry, and Jonathan Touson, senior director of organization effectiveness and optimization at CUIMC.

The CUIMC Vaccine Champion program workgroup includes: 

  • Ansgar Brambrink, MD, PhD
  • Lourival Baptista-Neto, MD
  • Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA
  • Regine Grandmougin, MHA
  • Rudi Odeh-Ramadan, PharmD
  • Magda Sobieszczyk, MD, MPH
  • Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH
  • Stephen Ferrara, MD 
  • Olajide Williams, MD, MS
  • Melissa Gerdes-Leonard — Human Resources
  • Alicia Samuels, MPH — Communications

Champions can access supporting information and tools on the Vaccine Champion Resource Site

Town Halls, Forums, and Symposiums