Here’s what you need to know:
- The requirement includes the flu vaccine and may later include a COVID vaccine if one is developed and recommended by the CDC and Tennessee Department of Health.
- The CDC has noted that the flu vaccine will be more important than ever in the 2020–21 flu season.
- Students and employees may request an exemption to vaccine requirements.
The UT Board of Trustees has approved an emergency resolution authorizing the UT System to require CDC- or Tennessee Department of Health–recommended vaccines for faculty, staff, and students at each campus and institute across the state.
This requirement currently includes only the flu vaccine. It could later include a future COVID vaccine that is recommended by the CDC and Tennessee Department of Health.
The vaccination requirements are established to protect the health and safety of the university community and are based on the advice of public health experts.
As the CDC has noted, the flu vaccine will be more important than ever in the 2020–21 flu season because of the potential for the flu and COVID-19 to be spreading at the same time. Flu vaccinations protect individuals, prevent additional stress on health care resources, and decrease the chances of a flu outbreak masking a COVID-19 outbreak.
- All members of the campus community will need a flu shot unless they receive an exemption.
- The flu shot requirement is based on the advice of public health experts.
- The flu vaccine is typically available in early October. Members of the campus community will be asked to have the shot before the start of the spring semester in January 2021.
- Flu vaccinations can be obtained at local health departments, any health care provider, and many pharmacies. In addition, the campus will set up opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to receive free flu vaccinations on campus once the vaccine is available.
At this time, a COVID-19 vaccination is not anticipated for the upcoming academic year. The COVID-19 immunization would be required only if it has been medically proven to be safe and effective and is recommended by the CDC and Tennessee Department of Health.
Consistent with state law, the UT System has required certain vaccinations for incoming students for years. As with those vaccinations, exemptions from these requirements can be made for medical, religious, or other reasons.
- Students should submit exemption requests through the process outlined in the Student Health Center’s information about immunization requirements and forms.
- Employees will receive more information regarding the exemption process in the fall.