University of California requires flu vaccination for students, faculty and staff

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Students, faculty and staff in the University of California system will be required to get a flu vaccination before Nov. 1, part of a system-wide executive order signed on Friday.

In consultation with the UC Health leadership, UC officials say the mandate is an "important proactive measure to help protect members of the UC community and the public at large."

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The newly signed order is also to help relieve the health care system during the upcoming fall and winter flu season amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"In addition to protecting those on campuses and the surrounding communities, this requirement is designed to avoid a surge of flu cases at health care facilities across the state during the unprecedented public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic," officials say.

The UC system says the flu vaccination is required for all faculty and staff who are working at a UC location and officials say they are adding the flu shot to the existing immunization policy for students.

UC officials say, "according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination is a safe and effective way to prevent millions of illnesses and thousands of related medical visits every year. In recent years, flu vaccinations have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among older adults on average by about 40 percent. Flu vaccinations also protect those around us, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness."

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All UC students, faculty and staff have access to free flu shots covered in the UC medical plan, officials say.

"In addition, for those without group health care coverage, all ACA-compliant health plans also cover flu vaccinations as part of a preventive care package that includes no copay," officials say in the news release," the UC announcement says. "A process will be put in place for faculty and staff to request medical exemptions. Requests for disability or religious accommodations will be handled through the interactive process consistent with existing location policies and procedures."

Officials say more information on the new flu vaccination requirement will be shared in the coming weeks.

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