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September 29, 2020

Dear Rutgers Colleagues,

The CDC always recommends a yearly flu shot as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses, but this year, getting your flu shot is more important than ever. Flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, but they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses and hospitalizations on the health care system and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19. That is why I urge all of you to take advantage of the many opportunities to get your flu shot.

To help keep our community members safe, we have updated the Rutgers Influenza Immunization Policy for Covered Individuals to require all Covered Individuals, including Healthcare Personnel who work directly with patients or who handle material that could spread infection, to have a flu vaccination unless they have a Rutgers-approved medical or religious exemption.  Please review the revised policy to determine if this requirement applies to you.

Flu shots are already available at local pharmacies and through your primary care provider. Please visit the State of New Jersey’s flu webpage to find a vaccine provider near you.  Additionally, Occupational Health will offer free flu vaccines to faculty and staff with a valid RU ID through the end of October. Visit the Occupational Health Flu Immunization webpage to review vaccine availability, and clinic dates and locations.

Flu vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent the flu, lessen its symptoms, and reduce its spread.  Flu vaccination not only helps keep us individually well, but also protects the most vulnerable in our communities. The CDC reinforces that the flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness and recommends that almost everyone 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine every year.

This year, more than ever, we must work together to keep our community safe and healthy.  Please remember, wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands, and get your flu shot.

Wishing you good health.

Vicente Gracias, MD
Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, RBHS
Vice President Health Affairs, Rutgers University