U.Va. Health is facilitating flu vaccinations with their Flu Free in ‘23 initiative that incorporates a variety of options for University employees to get their mandatory flu shots before the Nov. 15 deadline, including through walk-in clinics and on-site to-go kits.
The start of the initiative coincides with the beginning of flu season. Dr. Costi Sifri, director of hospital epidemiology at U.Va. Health, said U.Va. Health has had annual influenza vaccination initiatives for many years.
“We’ve had major flu campaigns for a long time at U.Va.” Sifri said. “We’re fortunate even before the pandemic…to have, I would say, sort of a well oiled machine in terms of getting influenza vaccines…for our employees and team members as well as our patients.”
All Tier 1 U.Va. Health members, which include any team members who work in or enter any health facility at any time, are required to be vaccinated against the flu. This tier also includes all U.Va. School of Medicine and School of Nursing students. Exemption requests may be filed for either religious or medical reasons.
The deadline for submitting an exemption request is Nov. 1, and the deadline for team members to comply with flu shot mandates is Nov. 15.
U.Va. Health team members have four options for getting their flu shots, including walk-in clinics, an appointment with employee health or through a private healthcare office as long as the employee notifies U.Va. health of their updated vaccination status. Employees can also receive their vaccines through the more recently expanded to-go kit system, which allows employees to be vaccinated at their work location by an on site patient-care provider.
“One very important way that we can prevent our patients from getting sick is to rid our team members from getting sick with influenza and having them pass it on to their patients,” Sifri said. “And also it's important for them so that we can remain healthy and able to work through the cold and flu season.”
Student Health and Wellness is also offering multiple services for students to receive their flu shots this year. Students can get their vaccines at either the U.Va. Health satellite Pharmacy location or through Medical Services in the Student Health and Wellness building.
Flu shots at the Pharmacy, located on the first floor of the SHW building, have been available by appointment only since Sept. 25. Students may schedule an appointment through the HealthyHoos patient portal operated by SHW. Vaccines acquired at the Pharmacy are free with most insurances and cost $20 without insurance.
Flu shots at Medical Services are also only available by appointment and can also be scheduled on the HealthyHoos portal.
In addition to these options, students can also get their vaccines at a Flu Shot Clinic that the University will host in the Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students must schedule an appointment through the SHW website to attend and must be 18 years of age or older to schedule a vaccine for themselves. Vaccines at the Clinic are free with most insurances, and students should bring their insurance cards with them to the event.