MacCheck and vaccine updates for international undergraduate students

November 12, 2021

The Province of Ontario has recently released updated guidance on the definition of a “fully vaccinated individual”

Previously, individuals who received a full series of a vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization (e.g., CoronaVac/Sinovac and Sinopharm/BBIBP) were considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their final dose. Based on new guidance, you are now considered fully vaccinated by the Province of Ontario 14 days after receiving:

  • Two doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca (including CoviShield) or Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S), in any combination (the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada),
  • One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or
  • Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada.

We want to make sure you knew about this change and recommend that you meet the Province of Ontario’s new definition of “fully vaccinated.” This will further protect you against COVID-19 and allow you to access non-essential activities and services in Ontario, such as restaurants, movie theatres, gyms, concerts and sports venues.

If your submission to MacCheck was approved by the October 17, 2021, deadline, this update does not require any action on your part in order to continue to access campus.

We know many of you haven’t had access to mRNA vaccines in your country of residence. If this is the case, please refer to the following process.

  1. If you haven’t already, download the iCent app and fill out the Mandatory Forms.
  2. Once the Mandatory Forms are completed on iCent, you will receive an email from with the COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Special Circumstances Request for International Students Form attached.
  3. Return the form and your documentation to the COVID-19 Vaccination Validation Team at with the subject line “International Student Special Circumstances Request Form – Your Name and Student Number.” This will pause the Winter 2022 course unenrolment process.
  4. As soon as you arrive in Canada for the Winter 2022 academic term and complete the required fourteen-day quarantine, begin your course of vaccination:
    • If you have one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, you must receive a single dose of an mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada. Upload your proof of this dose to MacCheck as soon as you receive it.
    • If you have not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, you must receive two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada. As soon as you receive your final dose, upload proof to MacCheck.
  5. While you are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated under Ontario’s new definition, you must receive McMaster-issued COVID-19 testing (which is currently being offered at the McMaster Asymptomatic Testing Centre but may transition to another format) every 72 hours in order to attend in-person academic activities (e.g., classes labs, tutorials). You will not be permitted to access other areas of McMaster (e.g., the library, the gym, food services, study spaces) until two weeks after your final dose.  
  6. Once you have received your final dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, uploaded proof to MacCheck, and waited the required two weeks after this dose, you will be allowed to access all McMaster facilities as long as you continue to pass daily COVID-19 screening in MacCheck.

Exemptions to the Vaccination Policy can be requested for protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code, which includes medical conditions. Exemptions will only be granted when substantively linked to a human rights ground with accompanying documentation. Find out how to request an exemption on the Back to Mac website.

The International Student Services team will work with you to support your safe arrival for Winter 2022 and ensure you develop a plan to meet the McMaster University Vaccination Policy.

The Student Wellness Centre is offering mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to eligible students, including international students who require one or two mRNA doses in order to meet the Province of Ontario’s updated definition of fully vaccinated. You can book an appointment by calling reception at 905 525 9140 ext. 27700.

The McMaster University Centre Pharmasave in the McMaster Student Centre (MUSC) on campus is offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by appointment to anyone eligible. Please call 905 540 3787 to book an appointment.

You can also visit Hamilton Public Health’s website to find information about where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the community at a clinic, pop-up clinic, or participating pharmacy today.

Based on expert advice and Health Canada recommendations, mixing vaccines is safe and may boost immune responses. Please see here for more information on vaccine efficacy and visit the Back to Mac website for more FAQs.

As always, you can reach out for support at if you have any questions or concerns, and if you haven’t done so already, remember to download and fill out the iCent app so that they can assess your unique situation and provide tailored support.

Review the COVID-19 readiness plan for information on travel, quarantine and other guidelines

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Once you’re here, we’ll continue to support you. Check out all our supports and services for international students. And you can contact us at if you have questions.