Flu shots are required this year, and the University is offering free flu clinics to help with the process.
As listed in the Duke Compact, all on-site Duke students, faculty and staff are required to receive the flu vaccine this year. The new policy reflects an effort to prevent any influenza outbreaks this year, to protect the health of the Duke community, prevent severe coronavirus complications and ease the burden on those fighting COVID-19.
The vaccine will be offered free of charge and is available for students by appointment only, according to the Student Health website. The flu clinic locations for students are at the Student Wellness Center and the Karsh Alumni and Visitor Center, and appointment times vary.
The deadline to receive the flu vaccine is Nov. 10, according to a news release about the new requirement.
Students must be free of flu symptoms to get the shot and should have their daily symptom monitoring pass ready to display at their appointment, according to the website.
Duke already required the flu vaccine for health care workers in the Health System and faculty and staff in the School of Medicine and School of Nursing, according to the news release. But the requirement has been extended this year to include all on-site Duke faculty, staff and students.
Students who choose not to be vaccinated without an approved exemption will face consequences for violation of the Compact. Faculty and staff who fail to meet the requirement would lose access to on campus buildings and facilities, while Duke Health faculty and staff who do not meet the vaccine requirement would face disciplinary action up to termination of employment.
Exemptions to the requirement may be granted for approved medical or religious reasons, according to the Student Health website. Faculty and staff should submit an exemption request as outlined here by Oct. 19. Official documentation of a vaccine received outside of Duke will also be accepted.
Receiving the flu vaccine is important this year to protect the health of those on campus and in the wider community, the news release states. Because symptoms of influenza and COVID-19 are similar, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two based on symptoms alone, according to the release, and an influenza outbreak could also overwhelm emergency rooms.
“The COVID pandemic has really raised everyone’s awareness of the potential adverse impact of a viral condition,” said Carol Epling, director of employee occupational health and wellness, in the release.
The flu season in the United States begins as early as October and as lasts late as May, often peaking between December and February, the release notes. In the last season, 186 people died of the flu in North Carolina, according to state health data.
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