Flu vaccine: frequently asked questions

Who is required to receive a flu shot?

All faculty, staff, students, and supporting team members are required to have the flu shot.

What are the deadlines to receive the flu vaccine and apply for exemptions?

Important deadlines related to the flu vaccine are located at the flu vaccine website.

Why do I need a flu shot?

As part of the University of Miami’s COVID-19 response, all faculty, staff, and students are required to receive a flu shot. Additionally, the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot.

Where can I get my flu shot?

A full listing of locations and hours, including UHealth Clinics at Walgreens, is listed on the Employee Health Office website.

Do I need to complete the "Flu Vaccination Attestation" in Workday?

If you receive your flu vaccination on-campus, from a UHealth provider, or at a UHealth Clinic at Walgreens, your flu information will be updated in Workday.  You do not need to fill out the flu attestation information.

Faculty, staff, and students who elect to receive a flu vaccine outside of the University or a UHealth Clinic at Walgreens (CVS, PCP, VA, JMH, etc.) MUST enter the date, location and vaccine information and a copy of your flu shot document in Workday.


Importance of being vaccinated

I am not involved in direct patient care and I am healthy. Why should I be vaccinated?

As shared by University President, Julio Frenk, there are three main components to the 2020-2021 flu shot requirement:

  • To ensure that seasonal flu does not reduce healthcare resources for those in need of care during a pandemic. 
  • Flu and COVID-19 symptoms have many similarities; therefore, the seasonal flu vaccine will lessen complications to University’s COVID-19 testing, tracking, and tracing efforts. 
  • Because of the unknowns about how the flu and COVID-19 will interact, the flu vaccine will help to eliminate the uncertainties as we work toward solutions.
How effective are flu vaccines, especially since virus strains keep changing?

The flu vaccine is the most effective method to prevent influenza. The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on a number of factors, including the accuracy of the match between vaccine strains and circulating strains and the age and health of the recipient. Influenza vaccine does not protect against other respiratory viral infections that occur during winter months. Public health officials have a good track record of predicting the main flu strains that will cause the most illness during each flu season. These strains usually change each year, which is why the vaccine is given annually. Even if you get the flu from a strain of the virus that was not included in the vaccine, having the vaccine can make your illness milder.

Why isn't vaccination voluntary?   

Our highest priority must be to protect the University community, including our most vulnerable patients and the employees who serve them. Research clearly shows that flu vaccinations vastly increase mass immunity and protect immune-suppressed patients. 

Can I just take antiviral drugs if I get the flu?

It is best to take precautions to prevent the flu with annual immunization. You can seek treatment for the flu, but in the meantime, you may have already passed on the virus to patients and coworkers since viral shedding may occur up to two to three days prior to the appearance of symptoms. In addition, resistance to antiviral drugs can develop in circulating virus strains, therefore compromising the effectiveness of the drugs for people who need them the most—those at high risk for severe complications.

When should I get vaccinated?

All faculty and staff are required to receive their vaccination before Dec. 11, 2020. However, it is strongly encouraged that you receive your shot as soon as possible. It takes about two weeks to develop protection after receiving the vaccine.

Can you get the flu from the flu vaccine?

No, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Some people mistakenly confuse flu symptoms with the vaccine side effects, such as a minor fever, etc., or they may have caught the flu prior to having the flu vaccine and have not developed signs and symptoms of the flu.

Will the flu vaccine make me feel ill?

Almost all people who receive the influenza vaccine have no serious problems. Some may experience minor side effects. If these problems occur, they begin soon after the shot is given and usually last no more than one to two days. The most common side effects are:

  • Soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Low-grade fever and mild body aches

Please contact University of Miami's Office of Risk Management if you believe you are experiencing adverse side effects related to a flu vaccination. 

I have an allergy to eggs. Should I get the flu vaccine?

An egg free vaccine is available.

I am pregnant. Should I get the flu vaccine?

Yes. It is especially important for pregnant women to get the flu shot, as you are more likely to have serious complications to yourself and your pregnancy if you get the flu. Once you get the flu shot, your body will start producing antibodies that will help protect you against the flu, and this protection can be passed to your unborn baby. According to the CDC, you can receive the flu shot at any time, during any trimester, while you are pregnant. Pregnant women should receive the injectable vaccine. 

What if I get vaccinated on my own through my doctor’s office, a pharmacy, JMH, VA hospital, or another location other than at a University of Miami designated location ?

Faculty, staff, and students who elect to receive a flu vaccine outside of the University or a UHealth Clinic at Walgreens (CVS, PCP, VA, JMH, etc.) MUST enter the date, location and vaccine information and a copy of your flu shot document in Workday. Please review the steps for compliance.


Exemptions

What if I have medical or religious reasons for declining vaccination?

Employees must apply for exemptions through Workday by Oct. 16, 2020. Review the required supporting information and documentation prior to submitting your request. The University of Miami follows the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Likewise, if receiving the vaccination conflicts with sincerely held beliefs, a request for religious accommodation can be made. 

What documentation do I need to provide to request a medical exemption?

There are very few medical contradictions to receiving the flu vaccine. However, an employee may apply for a medical exemption if he or she believes a vaccine would cause serious harm (e.g., if he or she has a documented history of a serious reaction to a previous flu vaccine). 

Employees must apply for exemptions through Workday with the required documentation. For a medical exemption, this will include:

  • A form completed by your healthcare provider and supporting medical record information.
  • Submission of the Medical Exemption Form

A committee will review the documentation and make a determination within seven (7) days. 

Non-employees filing for medical exemption from the flu shot shall fill out the form below for non-employees and submit it with supporting documentation to flu@miami.edu.

My religion requires me to decline vaccination. What should I do?

Employees must apply for exemptions through Workday with the required documentation, in accordance with the deadline. For a religious exemption, this will include:

  • A letter from your religious leader, on official letterhead, speaking to your religious affiliation and/or a quote from a religious text along with a letter explaining the relevance of the text supporting your beliefs.
  • Submission of the Religious Exemption Form.

The Office of Workplace Equity and Inclusion will review the information and documents submitted through Workday. A determination will be provided within seven (7) days of submission.

Non-employees filing for religious exemption from the flu shot are required to complete the Religious Exemption Form - Non- Employee, and submit it with supporting documentation to wei@miami.edu.

I received a medical exemption last year.  Do I have to submit the paperwork again this year?

If you received a “permanent” exemption, you are not required to apply again this year. If you received a “temporary” exemption, you are required to reapply for a medical exemption by the designated deadline date. Please find deadlines at the  flu vaccine website under “important dates.” 

I received a religious l exemption last year.  Do I have to submit the paperwork again this year?

Yes. If you received a Religious exemption last year, you are required to submit a new application every year through Workday at http://workday.miami.edu by the designated deadline date. Please find deadlines at the  flu vaccine website under “important dates.”


Submitting documentation through Workday

How do I submit my flu vaccination attestation or exemption?

To assist in submitting your flu vaccination attestation or exemption, there is now an ActionBot within Workday. To start, log in to Workday and click the ActionBot icon (located in the lower right side of your Workday screen) and select “Flu Vaccination Attestation." If you do not see the ActionBot icon, click here to learn how to install the WalkMe ActionBot plug-inon your computer.