UK students required to get flu shot before Nov. 1

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/UK Public Affairs) — University of Kentucky students who live on or come to campus will be required to receive a flu vaccination by Nov. 1.

The policy announced Friday is part of the university’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and is a recommendation from UK’s START team of clinicians, researchers and public health professionals.

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Students who do not have prescription coverage to cover the cost of the flu vaccination will receive the shot for free. Students who already have received a flu vaccination will simply need to upload a copy of their proof of vaccination.

ABC 36’s Monica Harkins talked to students on campus about what they think.

“I personally don’t think it’s a bad idea. I’ve been getting a flu shot every year since I was born,” Austin Vogel, UK student, said.

Some students think is just another part of what will be remembered simply as 2020.

“It’s a little weird having mandatory flu shots, but then again it is weird having mandatory covid tests, like this is all new to us,” Erin Dailey, UK student said.

UK’s Frank Romanelli, Pharm.D., with the College of Pharmacy says it’s a proactive step to try to protect everyone.

“It’s one less thing that we need to be dealing with a flu outbreak in the middle of a pandemic on a campus of 30,000 plus students,” he said.

He says it will also help with confusion. Flu symptoms like fever, fatigue are similar to COVID-19.

“We really don’t know what flu overlapping with covid will look like and you can get more than one virus,” Romanelli said.

But not everyone thinks it should be mandatory.

“It’s a bit upsetting as a student. I don’t think it’s fair that they have the right to make us get a shot,” Jack Srigley, UK student said.

Students who don’t comply won’t face punishments right away though.

Jay Blanton, UK Spokesperson, says the University will be following up with students and reasoning with them before implementing any type of sanctions.

As part of this initiative, campus faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to receive flu vaccinations as well. As a reminder, UK HealthCare employees are required to receive a flu shot annually.

The student flu shot program will kick off with Big Blue Flu Clinic from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, at the Gatton Student Center. Additionally, in partnership with Kroger Pharmacy, the university is greatly expanding the number of locations and opportunities for flu vaccinations for students, faculty and staff, including new locations at the President’s Pavilion at Kroger Field (near Gates 9 and 10), The 90 and Gatton Student Center beginning Oct. 18 and continuing through Oct. 31.

“Our guiding principle throughout the pandemic has been to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our campus community,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “This is one more step in honoring that principle by helping to mitigate and manage the spread of the seasonal flu, which many experts fear will be even worse this year as we continue to grapple with COVID-19.”

Here are the details of UK’s flu shot program:

Vaccination Clinics Overview — Students

Students who wish to receive a flu vaccination at one of the on-campus flu shot clinics are asked to bring a copy of their prescription card with them (or a photo image of the front and back of the card), along with their student ID. If a student is uninsured, the university will cover the costs of the flu shot so students do not have to pay out of pocket.

On Oct. 11, University Health Service is hosting its annual Big Blue Flu Clinic in the Gatton Student Center Ballroom from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Students must have an appointment to receive their flu shot. To make an appointment for the Big Blue Flu Clinic, click here.

To see a full calendar of locations and times for student flu vaccination clinics and to make an appointment, visit go.uky.edu/flushot.

Students can make an appointment for a vaccination at University Health Service via the online MyUK portal or by calling 859-323-APPT. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Nov. 20. You must have a valid UK student ID to receive your flu shot.

Students who wish to get a flu shot at any Kroger pharmacy, can download a voucher here and redeem it at a location of their choice. Appointments should be made in advance by going here.

Students who have already received their flu shot may upload proof of vaccination at https://hcselfreport.uky.edu/.

Vaccination Clinics Overview — Campus Faculty and Staff 

If an employee is on a UK insurance plan, employees can get their flu shot for free at any of the following sites: vaccination clinics at go.uky.edu/flushot, any UK HealthCare pharmacy location ukpharmacy.org, any local pharmacy and or with their primary care provider. Employees should bring a copy of their employee ID and prescription insurance card.

Faculty and staff who wish to get a flu shot at any Kroger pharmacy, can download a voucher here and redeem it at a location of their choice. Appointments should be made in advance and should bring a copy of their prescription insurance card.

Faculty and staff who are not on a UK or other health plan that fully covers the costs of a flu shot can receive a no-cost flu shot either at any Kroger pharmacy by downloading this voucher and redeeming it at a location of their choice or through a UK HealthCare pharmacy location ukpharmacy.org. Appointments should be made in advance and the employee should bring a copy of their prescription insurance card, if they have one.

For more information about how to receive a flu shot, as well as updated flu shot clinic times and locations, visit go.uky.edu/flushot or email healthcorps@uky.edu or call 859-218-SAFE.