CALIFORNIA—On Friday, August 7, the University of California (UC) announced an executive order that requires students, faculty and staff from all campuses to receive an influenza immunization before November 1. 

The executive order, which was signed by UC’s President Janet. A Napolitano, applies to any member of the community living, learning or working at any UC location. The influenza shot will also be added to the policy of vaccination requirements for students.

In the announcement, the university stated that the purpose of the order was to protect the health and well-being of students and employees, as well as to avoid a surge of flu cases at health care facilities in the state.  

“The executive order is an important proactive measure to help protect members of the UC community — and the public at large — and to ameliorate the severe burdens on health care systems anticipated during the coming fall and winter from influenza and COVID-19 illnesses,” the announcement read.

All individuals who are covered by UC medical plans will receive the flu shot at no cost. The university said that for those who don’t have that coverage, the ACA- compliant health plans also cover the cost of the vaccination. 

Employees can request a medical exemption from the requirement through a form that was released by the university. Exemptions include allergic reactions to a previous dose of influenza vaccine or its component. The executive order stated that in an outbreak situation, individuals who were granted immunity would not be allowed on campus.  

The order also said that each campus would designate a local Immunization Exemption Appeals Officer (IEAO) with appropriate qualifications to review appeals from employees. Those who are denied an exemption will have to get a flu shot within 15 days.

The announcement said more information about the new immunization requirement would be released in the upcoming weeks.