Vaccine Update for Campus— Influenza and COVID-19 Boosters

The following message for USC students from Dr. Sarah Van Orman, Chief Health Officer, was shared on Sept. 28, 2021:

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 USC students in our campus communities about both these vaccines is outlined as follows.

INFLUENZA

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.

All USC students taking in-person classes or living in university-owned residences in Fall 2021 are required to complete immunization for influenza. Students living in off-campus residences and taking classes remotely are also strongly encouraged to get a flu vaccine. 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.
  • Flu can cause significant disruptions in academics. Students with influenza often miss 7-10 days of class. Preventing the flu can help prevent this lost time and impact.
  • 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 Students — How to Get Vaccinated for the Flu

  • Make an appointment in MySHR under “Immunizations.”
  • Walk up to the testing centers at Pardee, Jefferson Lot, and Pappas Quad; a flu shot will be available to students who are testing.
  • You will also be offered a flu shot during in-person appointments at the Engemann and Eric Cohen Student Health Centers.

Flu shots are a covered benefit of the SHIP/Aetna plan; for students on other plans, there is a $20 charge that will be billed to you (that you may submit for reimbursement to your insurance carrier.)

Students who receive vaccinations through off-campus providers should save a copy of their record showing their name, date of birth, and vaccine/date administered and upload to MySHR. Note: USC Pharmacy vaccinations are automatically uploaded to MySHR. This may take 48-72 hours to be reflected in your records.

Exemption Information: For students who are unable to take a vaccine, you must complete a student exemption form.

Uploading documentation: Receipts and exemption forms may be uploaded in the “Upload Documentation” section of the MySHR portal.

 

COVID-19 BOOSTERS

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:

The following groups may receive a booster:

  • Ages 18 – 49 withunderlying 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.

Our valued campus partner, USC Pharmacies, are now providing COVID-19 booster shots for campuses beginning October 4, 2021. We are pleased to provide the information below:

USC Pharmacies COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Beginning on October 4, 2021, USC Pharmacies will be the campus partner administering 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

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 recommendation

We strongly urge you, your peers, and your loved ones to get the flu vaccine. It offers real benefits — reducing illnesses, medical appointments, and missed classes and activities 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.

If you have questions about the flu vaccine or COVID-19 booster shots, contact studenthealth@usc.edu.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation in keeping our community safe, and in-person activities continuing for the fall.