Sept. 28, 2021
TO: USC Faculty and University Staff
FR: Sarah Van Orman, Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health
Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC
RE: Vaccine Update for Campus— Influenza and COVID-19 Boosters
As we enter the influenza season, the University has renewed the decision to require influenza vaccines for all USC students, faculty, and staff for the 2021-2022 influenza season. The deadline for completion is November 1, 2021. As a reminder, please continue to use recommended hygiene practices: wash your hands, follow masking guidelines, and if you are sick, please stay home.
Recently, the FDA and CDC have also made key announcements on COVID-19 booster shots for the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine. Information for faculty and university staff in our campus communities about both these vaccines is outlined as follows.
This requirement will help mitigate the potential simultaneous impact of flu and COVID-19 during the seasonal flu timeframe in the fall/winter months. Exact timing of flu season may vary, but activity often begins to increase in October; flu activity typically peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May. Learn more key facts from the CDC.
Flu vaccine compliance will be reflected in Trojan Check.
Why Take the Flu Vaccine?
- 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 COVID-19 cases. Saving medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients is a way we can all contribute to community health.
- September and October are optimal times for receiving the flu vaccine, as it takes approximately 2 weeks for your immune system to create antibodies for protection. Don’t delay; if you have an opportunity to get vaccinated for flu, take it.
USC Pharmacies Vaccination Program
Beginning on October 4, 2021, USC Pharmacies will be the campus partner for faculty and university staff, administering both influenza and COVID-19 vaccines for the campuses.
Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also available, at the following locations on campus:
§ UPC (administration and undergraduates campus) — Lyon Center, Second floor;
§ UPC (administration and undergraduates campus) — Student Union Pharmacy
§ HSC (health sciences campus) — Medical Plaza Pharmacy
§ HSC (health sciences campus) — Pappas Quad on select days
§ Verdugo Hills Professional Pharmacy (Glendale)
§ Retail Pharmacy Locations
- See the following pages for additional information:
Cost information — Flu vaccines administered on the campuses through the USC Pharmacies have no “out of pocket” cost for faculty and university staff; on all employee health insurance plans.
Updated immunization records — Faculty and university staff who are vaccinated through the USC Pharmacies will automatically have this updated in their MySHR health records. This may take 48-72 hours to be reflected in your records.
- Faculty and university staff who receive vaccinations through other providers and pharmacy retailers should save a copy of their record showing their name, date of birth, and vaccine/date administered and upload to MySHR.
Faculty and university staff with medical, religious, or philosophical objections may submit a medical exemption request form or religious/philosophical exemption request form.
Uploading documentation — Receipts and exemption forms may be uploaded in the “Upload Documentation” section of the secure health record portal, MySHR.
With the vast amount of news coverage about booster vaccinations this week, we want to make sure you have the latest information regarding the health of you and your loved ones.
Select groups are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
Patients in these groups who received a Pfizer vaccine more than 6 months ago are now eligible to receive a booster shot, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Boosters will help those who are at highest risk for COVID-19 increase their protection against the disease and may be administered at least 6 months after the completion of the Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
According to the CDC, the following groups should receive a booster:
- Ages 65 and older;
- Residents of long-term care facilities; and
- Ages 50 – 64 with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities.
The following groups may receive a booster:
- Ages 18 – 49 with underlying medical conditions; and
- Ages 18 – 64 who work in professions that place them at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure, including health care workers, first responders, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers, and workers in homeless shelters or prisons.
Campus Vaccination Rates
We are pleased to report that 94% of all our campus communities—faculty, staff, and students—are fully vaccinated. We thank our communities in participating in this public health initiative; our tireless nurses and clinical operations team are proud to have been your vaccination partner, doing our part to get closer to the end of the pandemic.
USC Pharmacies will be providing booster shots at the locations mentioned in USC Pharmacies Vaccination Program section of this message. Appointments are recommended.
- You must bring either paper or electronic proof of vaccination (with dates), a photo ID, and may be asked to complete a self-attestation of eligibility form that you meet CDC guidelines.
Apart from these booster shots, third shots are also recommended for immuno-compromised individuals.
Flu vaccine recommendations
We strongly urge you and your family to get the flu vaccine. It offers real benefits —reducing illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as preventing flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
According to the CDC, it is safe for you to get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. Like the COVID-19 booster, flu shots are widely available at local pharmacies.
For COVID-19 boosters, the My Turn website can help you find a location convenient to you.
If you have questions about the flu vaccine or COVID-19 booster shots, talk to your health care provider.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation in keeping our community safe, and in-person activities continuing for the fall.