Message to USC Faculty and Staff
From: Felicia A. Washington, Senior Vice President of Human Resources; Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM, FACHA, Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health, Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC
As part of USC’s COVID-19 response, the University is providing free flu vaccinations through USC Pharmacies for faculty and staff working on-site at any USC location and is requiring on-site employees to receive the seasonal flu vaccine by November 1, 2020. This requirement, which will also apply to faculty and staff who return to work on-site through the end of the Spring 2021 semester, is intended to enable us to share the responsibility for keeping our entire community safe. Employees in clinical settings must follow any previously established flu immunization requirements. We also strongly encourage all faculty and staff who are working from home to get a flu vaccine.
Several considerations contributed to the creation of this requirement:
- Flu and COVID-19 often can present similar respiratory symptoms; receiving a flu vaccine will help with an accurate and timely diagnosis if you become ill.
- A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saving medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients is a way we can all contribute to community health.
- It takes approximately two weeks for your immune system to create antibodies for protection. Though exact timing of flu season may vary, activity often begins to increase in October and typically peaks between December and February. The sooner you get the immunization, the better for your health and wellbeing and that of others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information available regarding the flu shot vaccination for the year 2020-2021.
Where to get the flu vaccine
On-site employees: On-site employees are encouraged to get a flu vaccine through USC Pharmacies and can do so during scheduled work hours. The vaccine is available at no cost with an employee ID and will automatically satisfy the proof of vaccination requirement. For more information on available pharmacy locations, please visit the USC Pharmacies Flu Vaccine web page. Appointments are preferred at all locations. Please coordinate appointments with supervisors to ensure the timing aligns with the needs of your department or unit.
Though obtaining the vaccine through USC Pharmacies is at no cost, even for employees on plans other than USC health plans, on-site employees may choose to get a flu vaccine through another pharmacy or physician. Be sure to obtain written documentation of the immunization that includes your first and last name, date of birth, and vaccination date. Instructions for submitting documentation will be sent to on-site faculty and staff by October 9, at which time Employee FAQs will also be updated on the We are SC site. Note that flu shots are a fully covered benefit for employees who are enrolled in USC health plans.
Employees working remotely: We strongly encourage employees who are working remotely to get vaccinated locally and to obtain written verification that includes your first and last name, date of birth, and vaccination date in anticipation of an eventual return to campus. Employees working remotely will not need to provide documentation until they are asked to return to work on-site. Please be sure to check the Employee FAQ on the We are SC site for instructions on how to submit documentation prior to returning to work on-site.
We all must do our part to protect ourselves and those populations working on-site at USC locations and in the community at large. Thank you for your continued commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our USC community.
cc: Office of the President
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team