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. Columbia University has also mandated boosters for all faculty, staff and students effective January 31, 2022. Those who have had a previous infection still need to receive their booster by the deadline. People without a contraindication for vaccination can get vaccinated once they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms can be vaccinated once they have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation. 

Flu vaccination is also required for all faculty and staff, in addition to the COVID-19 booster. Influenza activity is elevated in NYC, for both influenza A and influenza B. People can get their flu shot at WHS through 2/11/21, at a pharmacy or at their own doctor. 

All employees and students must continue to take the appropriate precautions, including masking, appropriate PPE, and social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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.

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

The current vaccination mandate has been expanded to require booster doses for all faculty, staff, and students who meet the criteria for eligibility, effective January 31st, 2022.

In general, you are eligible for a booster five months after the last dose of your initial Pfizer or Moderna series (or WHO-authorized vaccine) or two months after the initial J & J vaccination. Booster doses are available at many pharmacies and other locations in the metropolitan area. It is recommended that you take advantage of the first opportunity available to you, even if it is a non-Columbia location. All locations provide documentation of all vaccinations, which will be accepted to fulfill the booster mandate. Please see below for more information on accessing a booster.

51 W. 51st Street Booster Schedule — January

Booster sessions for CUIMC employees will be offered at ColumbiaDoctors Midtown during select dates. For appointments, go to MyConnectnyc.org. Session information is provided below: 

  • Wednesday, January 19, 1pm–4:30pm (Scheduling opens via Connect 1/14 at 8am)
  • Friday, January 21, 9am-12pm (Scheduling opens via Connect 1/14 at 8am)
  • Friday, January 21, 1pm-4pm (Employee Walk-Ins)
  • Tuesday, January 25, 1pm-4:30pm (Scheduling opens via Connect 1/21 at 8am)
  • Wednesday, January 26, 1pm–4:30pm (Scheduling opens via Connect 1/21 at 8am)
  • Friday, January 28, 9am-12pm (Scheduling opens via Connect 1/21 at 8am)
  • Friday, January 28, 1pm-4pm (Employee Walk-Ins)

Additional Locations 

  • Workforce Health & Safety (WHS): View the WHS Booster Schedule. Appointments are required; you can schedule your booster through Connect.  
  • Columbia Primary Care 
    • If you are a Columbia Primary Care patient, make an appointment with a nurse for your booster by calling 844-387-2273 (844-387-CARE). 
    • If you would like to become a Columbia Primary Care patient, please schedule a visit to address a health care concern or for preventive care. During your appointment, Columbia Primary Care providers are happy to also provide a booster. Schedule your visit through the website or call 844-387-2273 (844-387-CARE). Locations include: 
      • Manhattan: 
        • 601 W. 113th Street 
        • 180 Fort Washington Avenue 
        • 2702 Broadway 
        • 51 W. 51 Street 
  • Outside of CUIMC/NYP 
    • The COVID Vaccine Finder by State can help you find a convenient location in your community.  
    • You may also text your local zip code to 438829 (GETVAX) from your cell phone. You will receive a text with a link re: COVID Vax location information.  

Updates and Announcements

Testing, Daily Attestations, and Gateway Requirements

Asymptomatic Testing

For CUIMC affiliates, asymptomatic testing is conducted in the Schaeffer Gallery in the William Black Building. Testing is by appointment only. Book your appointment.

Symptomatic Testing

Symptomatic testing of clinical personnel only will be done by NYP in the Milstein Heart Center. Symptomatic testing will only be conducted for clinical staff who will be working in clinical settings and not for travel or other testing for any other purpose. All appointments must be scheduled via Connect. Select "schedule an appointment" from the Menu tab and then select "NYP/WCM/CUIMC Employee Labs and Testing" as the reason for coming in, followed by "Yes" to scheduling.

Hours of Operation

  • Monday–Friday: 7AM—7PM

Gateway Testing

All residential undergraduate students are required to test through the Columbia testing program on the first business day after your return to campus and again between days 5 and 7. All other students are required to get a Columbia gateway test within 72 hours of their return to campus. Gateway testing is also required for all non-student affiliates who did not receive a Columbia gateway test in 2021.

Campus access will be allowed while awaiting results of the gateway test. After January 28, 2022, red passes will be applied to all those who are not compliant with the gateway testing requirement.  You may notice that the testing requirement box on the ReOpenCU app will be unchecked until after you have completed the requirement.  Please allow up to 72 hours for the box to be checked following your University gateway test.

Columbia offers testing in five locations, with two sites operating five days per week. Testing sites are reopening for testing on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. University testing appointments open 7-10 days in advance so please plan accordingly. To ensure opportunities to be tested, please book your appointment in advance of your desired testing date, consider all of the potential sites, and remember that it is not possible to add people to a fully booked schedule. On select days, the Lerner Hall location will be offering extended hours. Please note that walk-in testing is not available during January 2022, and tests from non-University sites cannot be used to meet the University-required COVID-19 tests.

Affiliates with a Recent Positive PCR Test

If you had a PCR positive test in the past 90 days, and reported this to the University as required by the Columbia University Community Health Compact, you will be considered compliant with the gateway requirement.  Please do not re-test unless directed to do so by a healthcare provider and refer to the testing FAQ on how to submit your documentation in case of a positive test result.

Morningside and CUIMC Graduate and Professional Students
All students are strongly recommended to get a PCR test from a local testing site 48 hours prior to returning to campus. There is no need to provide proof of this test, unless it is positive.

  • Gateway testing for fully vaccinated students: Get a gateway COVID-19 PCR test from a Columbia testing location within 72 hours after your return to campus.  
  • Gateway testing for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students: Get a COVID-19 PCR gateway test from a Columbia testing location prior to accessing campus, and weekly thereafter if you have an approved exemption or until you are fully vaccinated.

Faculty & Staff

All faculty and staff that have traveled, have been away for a period of time, or have participated in social events and gatherings are strongly recommended to get a PCR test from a local testing site 48 hours prior to returning to University facilities. There is no need to provide proof of this test, unless it is positive.  

  • New faculty, researcher, or staff OR any individual who has not received a gateway test since Jan. 1, 2021: Get a gateway COVID-19 PCR test from a Columbia testing location within 72 hours after accessing the campus.
  • Returning faculty, researcher, or staff: In light of holiday travel and gathering, all non-student affiliates are strongly recommended to receive a PCR test before or as you return to campus at either Columbia testing sites or other community testing locations. There is no need to provide proof of this test, unless it is positive.
  • Are you also a student? You must meet the relevant student requirements described above.

Daily Attestations

All Columbia affiliates (students, faculty, and staff employees) returning to the medical center for any purpose or who are living in campus housing are required to complete daily COVID-19 symptom attestations to ensure safety and prevent the spread of the virus. You will be able to complete the self-check online or by using the ReopenCU app. For more information, please see Symptom Self-Checking

New Hires 

New Hires are required to have a COVID-19 PCR test before starting work on campus. Upon the creation of their UNI, managers must alert the new hire that they can now self-schedule a test and instruct them on how to do so. For more information, see CUIMC Human Resources: Employment

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