The University of California announced on Friday that it will be requiring all of its roughly 500,000 students and employees to get the influenza vaccine — or a medical exemption for it — by Nov. 1, 2020.
“In consultation with public health authorities, the UC Immunization Policy Committee recommended this measure due to the potential for widespread community transmission of influenza, in addition to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, both of which would put a severe burden on already strained health care systems,” according to a press release from the UC.
Former UC President Janet Napolitano signed the executive order into action on July 31, one day before she handed over her role to Michael Drake, the 21st UC President and the first Black president in UC history.
This is the first time the UC has required the flu vaccine. An existing immunization policy required students to “provide proof of immunity to respiratory transmitted vaccine-preventable diseases” and provide screening for tuberculosis, but did not make the flu vaccine compulsory. The change is based off of a UC assessment of “the current public health situation” and will be performed every season, according to the press release.
“By vaccinating our students and employees to mitigate the impact of influenza in the coming season, the University is doing our part to ensure that limited, lifesaving health care resources are available for those most in need, including those at risk for severe influenza or COVID-19,” Carrie Byington, executive vice president of UC Health, said in the press release.