COVID-19 Vaccine Protocols
To best protect cadets, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors, Virginia Military Institute will require cadets to get a COVID-19 vaccine, allowing for more normal operations in a safe way, including dining, extracurricular activities, physical training, and classes. This decision was made thoughtfully and through a lot of discussion and research with the hope that distancing, mask inventories, and high-volume testing are things of the past.
All incoming cadets need to submit a copy of their completed vaccination card through the Medicat portal before their assigned report date. If a cadet has already submitted proof of vaccination, it does not need to be submitted again. The goal is that each cadet is fully vaccinated (14 days after the final dose) as he or she arrives. Keep in mind that from first dose to being fully vaccinated can take up to six weeks, depending on the vaccine. VMI staff will review individual requests for medical or religious exemptions for the COVID vaccine on a case-by-case basis. See FAQs for the forms and requested supplemental documentation.
Vaccines are free, and clinics remain active in the Lexington community and across the country. The VMI community will continue to receive updates on vaccination clinics and mobile vaccine opportunities. Cadets and members of the VMI community can also receive alerts about available vaccine clinics by signing up for the Alert Rockbridge Program.
UPDATE: Related information for incoming matriculants regarding possible deferment is available from the Office of Admissions.
A Message from Major General Wins '85:
VMI is committed to returning to a “normal” academic year with the full range of activities for cadets including 100% in-person classes. With that in mind it is important that we ensure a healthy and safe living environment for our students, particularly in light of the close living conditions (barracks rooms, restrooms, the dining facility, etc.) which are an important part of the VMI experience. Our decision to require vaccinations for our cadets has not been taken lightly. We have reviewed all applicable guidelines and directives from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), VDH (Virginia Department of Health), and the ACHA (American College Health Association). We have received guidance from the Virginia Attorney General’s office, which states that Virginia Institutes of Higher Education “may condition in-person attendance on receipt of an approved COVID-19 vaccine” during the time of pandemic to keep their students, faculty, staff, and surrounding communities safe and healthy.
Over the last year and a half, we have received countless requests to find a way to ensure that our cadets receive the full VMI experience. Vaccinations provide us with that ability while ensuring our cadets have a healthy and safe living environment. Had we not required vaccines and a large number of our students remain unvaccinated, we would have been forced to continue our COVID mitigation procedures requiring social distancing, wearing of facial coverings, return to post testing events, weekly surveillance testing and possible restricting movement off Post for the semester. We would be reduced to holding 50-60% in-person classes, be unable to schedule social activities, and other major training activities would be severely impacted. Many of our large event venue locations would have to be reverted to classroom space as we have been required to do since the start of this pandemic, and many of our non-academic scheduled activities would have to be canceled.
With regards to the suggestion that the standard age group of our cadets is not part of the at-risk population, we are considering the impact on the entire VMI and local community who may be in one of those at-risk categories. Also, recent variants are impacting younger age groups more frequently. All the vaccines available give protection against these variants. Even those who have recovered from a COVID infection benefit from the vaccine. Studies are showing the long-term and short-term risks of vaccines are significantly less likely and less dangerous than the risks of COVID itself - risks like myocarditis, chronic fatigue, and shortness of breath. While we understand that the age group in question may be the least at risk, we ask everyone to consider who may be affected by the virus if it transferred to others.
We ask you all for your support in this decision as we make every effort to ensure that all of our cadets have the full VMI experience. We will continue to monitor CDC, VDH, and ACHA guidance on COVID protocols and the vaccine and will adjust our policies as needed based on that guidance.
Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins '85
Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute
Upcoming No-Cost COVID Vaccine Events:
Walmart Pharmacy at Marshall Hall
VMI has partnered with Walmart Pharmacy to offer VMI Post Mobile Vaccine Clinics during June and July to help facilitate and expedite this important process for our cadets. The events will be at the Center for Leadership and Ethics in Marshall Hall, 500 Anderson Drive. Parking for the event is available in the Marshall Hall parking lot. Please note spaces will be reserved for clinic staff.
Walmart Pharmacy will be offering the Pfizer vaccine based on availability at the time of the event. Walk-in appointments are available, but cadets are encouraged to pre-register at https://app.myirmobile.com/auth/register.
- Thursday, July 29th 11am to 2pm
Local Vaccine Clinics
In July 2021, clinics in Lexington are held every Tuesday at the Health Deptartment (9am-4pm) and at the Health Center every Tuesday.
For the Health Center, please use the website to schedule appointments: Rockbridge Area Health Center https://www.rockahc.org/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/
For the Health Department, see: Central Shenandoah Health District https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/central-shenandoah/covid-19-vaccine-information/
For more information on local vaccination oppportunities, see:
VMI Infirmary Medicat Instructions