Students: Seasonal Flu Vaccine Required by Spring Semester

Dear RIT students,

Getting the seasonal flu vaccine is one of the most important things we can do for our health and the health of our RIT community this year. Experts recommend flu shots for nearly every demographic—children, adults, and elderly individuals. In the midst of a global pandemic, immunization against the flu is even more important. Symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can be similar, and the two illnesses may be difficult to distinguish. The convergence of the expected flu season along with COVID-19 may exacerbate the potential for severe respiratory illnesses. This intersection may possibly overwhelm our health care systems.

Unlike COVID-19, the flu is familiar to us, and a safe vaccine is available. While the effectiveness of the vaccine varies year-to-year, we do know that even if the vaccine doesn’t prevent one from getting the flu, having had the vaccine will make the illness less severe.

For these reasons, it is critical ­— and RIT is requiring — that students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus for any reason receive a seasonal flu vaccination by the start of Spring Semester. A final date will be announced with other upcoming recommendations related to Spring Semester.

Students must provide proof of having received the seasonal flu vaccine by submitting documentation to the Wellness Portal. Proof should include name, date, and documentation that it was a flu vaccine.

For students with a medical or religious accommodation, you will be receiving a secure message through the health portal that we have a file of record for you.

A record number of flu shots are being manufactured nationally and the vaccine is now widely available. Students are encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Take advantage of the on-campus Wegmans clinics, starting today in the Fireside Lounge. If your insurance is not accepted by Wegmans, you can get the vaccine at the Student Health Center for $20. Most insurance plans cover this vaccine, so you may be able to submit the receipt for a reimbursement. Students can get the flu shot at a local retail pharmacy or when they return home for winter break; however, there is really no need to wait.

We must all continue to take an active role in our personal health and the health of our community by using all available tools, including the seasonal influenza vaccine and the three Ws. Here’s to taking control and actively directing the health of our campus! We are in week six of classes, and we have been successful thus far due to your actions!

Thank you,

Wendy Gelbard, M.D.
Associate Vice President, Wellness Student Affairs

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