Mass. students now required to get flu shot

October 9, 2020

Many Brandeis students are now required to get an influenza vaccine, according to a press release by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). Brandeis students can sign up for a flu shot and request an exemption on the portal on their Passport Portal, the platform used to sign up for COVID-19 testing.  

In total, all children who are enrolled in child care, pre-school, K-12 and post-secondary institutions will now be required to get an influenza vaccine by Dec. 31, according to the press release. For university students, the requirement applies to all full-time students under the age of 30, both graduate and undergraduate. For health science students, the vaccine is required regardless of whether they are full time or not.  

Exempt from the policy are college and university students who never visit campus, homeschooled students and students who have either a medical or religious exemption. For those entering school in January, the flu shot will be an added necessity to the existing requirements. 

“Every year, thousands of people of all ages are affected by influenza, leading to many hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, Medical Director, DPH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences. “It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve healthcare resources.” 

In some cases, a second dose of the vaccine could be advised, depending on the specific student, however it would not be required to attend the schools. 

Children who are at least six months old and are attending a Massachusetts institution are required to get the vaccine, according to the press release. The hope of the policy is to reduce the amount of flu-related or general respiratory illnesses during the coronavirus pandemic.  

According to WCVB, there have been protests in Boston following the mandate. Protesters have gathered outside the federal courthouse, demanding that they choose whether to vaccinate their child or not. Vinnie Delaney, the organizer, said that she is planning on filing a lawsuit against Governor Charlie Baker and his administration. 

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