BERKELEY — UC Berkeley students will have an additional requirement if they plan to continue their schooling this fall: A flu shot.
Students at the university will not be alone in the sudden mandate. University of California executives issued the requirement of every student in the university system.
In a statement, UC President Janet Napolitano said the executive order is part of a proactive strategy by the UC system to mitigate the burdens of flu season that are expected to be heaped upon a health care system already battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To support the health and well being of UC students, faculty and staff and our communities, the University of California, in consultation with UC Health leadership, has issued a system-wide executive order,” a statement issued Friday from Napolitano’s office said.
Students will be required to get the shot by Nov. 1.
The order, according to the statement, is “designed to avoid a surge of flu cases at health care facilities across the state during the unprecedented public health crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The executive order also requires all faculty and staff who are working at a UC location to receive a vaccination. Faculty and staff can request medical exemptions, but that process has not been determined yet.
The move comes just a week after a Contra Costa County health official pleaded with the public to take more precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, especially considering what’s ahead.
“This is gonna get bad,” Dr. Desmond Carson said. “When flu season comes, how am I gonna differentiate flu from corona? How am I gonna do that? “
The Centers for Disease Control said that flu vaccinations can reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalizations among older adults by about 40%.