BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — All UC students and workers will be required to get a flu shot this fall following an executive order from UC president Janet Napolitano issued Friday.
The flu shot will be added to the vaccination requirement which students will need to receive by Nov. 1. Many students at UC Berkeley told KPIX 5 they supported it.
“The flu shot, in general, is something that everyone should be doing,” said Gracielle Li, an incoming sophomore.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Kyle De Matias, who will also be a sophomore at Cal when school starts. The two friends said they get the flu shot every year so the new requirement won’t be a problem for them. They worry about access for all because many college students are poor and even $10 for a flu shot could be a financial hardship.
“How are they going to be able to meet the requirement? Because not every student will have access to all of the same resources. Not everyone has the same privilege as everyone else,” said Li.
Napolitano said in a statement the requirement aims to prevent a surge of flu cases and reduce the burdens on the health care system during the pandemic. Some people believed it’s not necessary since all nine UC campuses will conduct classes online.
Lifelong Medical Care Associate Medical Director Dr. Desmond Carson said it’s a great idea and he said fewer flu cases means more hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
“It would help to at least eliminate the flu as part of our (prognosis when patients come in) with cough, fever and chills. So it helps to ease the burden,” Carson said.
Because COVID-19 testing results take time, he said that, right now, it’s hard to tell with certainty if someone has the flu or the coronavirus.
“Anybody who comes in with a fever, we have to assume the worst,” said Carson.
Many doctors are urging everyone to get the flu shot this year.
At UC Berkeley, many students said they want to do their part to help end the pandemic so they can return to class faster.
“If we want to come back, we also need to make sure everyone is healthy,” said De Matias.
The UC system will allow people to apply for exemptions for health or religious reasons.