I’m currently working remotely. Am I required to get a flu shot?

Yes, faculty, staff and trainees are required to get the vaccine, regardless of whether they are currently working on campus.  It is important that we protect our students, our patients and each other. Even if you are working 100% remotely, flu vaccination will help lower the burden on our health care system by decreasing flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

Will I have to pay for my flu shot?

Washington University covers the cost of employee flu shots through several ways. If you are enrolled in a university medical plan, your flu shot is covered at 100%.  Note, however, that if you see your medical provider for another health concern other than a flu shot, your provider may charge for an office visit. We recommend you contact your healthcare provider in advance to discuss how to obtain your annual flu shot. 

I don’t have my medical insurance card. How do I get a new one? 

Call UnitedHealthcare member services at 800-382-2599 and provide WashU’s group number: #702111.  You can also log in to your account at myuhc.com to order a new card.  

How will you protect my privacy? 

Flu shot documentation is tracked in a HIPAA-compliant system maintained by Occupational Health and separate from your employee record.

Can I get my flu shot during work time? 

Yes. Talk to your supervisor about an appropriate time for you to get your flu shot. 

I have an approved medical exemption for the influenza vaccine for 2020, is it still valid?

Yes, however you will still need to complete the survey in ReadySet to request an exemption, if we have a medical exemption on file for you in 2020, you do not need to visit your physician to complete your request. However, if you do not have an approved medical exemption for 2020 you will need to participate in the normal process.

I have an approved medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine, does that mean I have an exemption for the influenza vaccine?

No, if you do not have an approved medical exemption for the influenza vaccine in 2020, you will need to apply, regardless of your COVID-19 vaccine status.

I have an approved religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine or for the influenza vaccine in past years, do I need to reapply for an exemption?

Yes, religious exemptions are only valid for one year and have to be submitted for each vaccine offered. 

I am 65 or older, what flu vaccine should I take?

The CDC says people 65 years and older can receive any flu vaccine approved for use in that age group with no preference for any one vaccine over another. There are vaccines designed for older adults to elicit a stronger immune response to promote higher antibody production. You should discuss the best option for you with your healthcare provider.

Which vaccine does Occupational Health offer for those 65 and older? 

This year we are offering, FLUAD Quadrivalent which is a standard dose, inactivated influenzas (flu) vaccine, manufactured by Seqirus that contains an adjuvant.

It is manufactured using an egg-based process (like most flu vaccines), and includes an adjuvant called MF59. (An adjuvant is an ingredient added to a vaccine that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination.)  FLUAD Quadrivalent is only approved for use among people 65 years and older, who often have a lower protective immune response after flu vaccination compared to younger people.

What if I suspect or have a confirmed case of COVID-19?  Should I receive the vaccine right now?

Routine vaccination should be deferred for persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, until released isolation and recovered from severe illness. While mild illness is not a contraindication to vaccination, vaccination visits should be postponed to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other employees to the virus that causes COVID-19.  Additionally, a prior infection with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or flu does not protect someone from future flu infections. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. 

Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19? 

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.

Is it possible to get sick from the flu vaccine?

Although you may experience a mild and temporary fever after you receive the flu vaccination, this does not mean you have the flu. In fact, the flu vaccination does not give you the flu. The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated).

What are common side effects of the flu vaccine?

Soreness, redness, and swelling where shot is given, fever, muscle aches, and headache can happen after influenza vaccine. These side effects do not mean that you have the flu.

Does this year’s Occupational Health vaccine contain thimerosal (a preservative) or latex? 

No, all vaccines at WU Occupational Health are preservative and latex free.

Is it safe for pregnant women to get influenza vaccine? 

Yes. In fact, vaccination with the inactivated or recombinant vaccine is recommended for women who will be pregnant during the influenza season. Pregnant women are at increased risk for serious medical complications from influenza. In addition, vaccination of the mother will provide protection for her newborn infant from influenza during the first 6 months of life. Women who are breastfeeding may be vaccinated.  

What is my responsibility as a supervisor?

Supervisors can review the status of their direct reports from their own ReadySet account.  All supervisors are required to monitor their direct reports and ensure that they are in compliance. 

How can I report my flu vaccine, not given by Occupational Health? 

After your vaccine is complete, complete the survey and upload your vaccine documentation in your ReadySet account.

  1. Login to your ReadySet account and go to the ‘My Health’ tab
  2. Choose ‘Health Surveys’ from the side navigation. If your survey status is complete, go to step 5.
  3. Select ‘Seasonal Flu Immunization Survey’
  4. Choose: ‘I ALREADY RECEIVED the seasonal flu vaccination and I can provide documentation’ and complete survey.
  5. Choose ‘Documents’ from the side navigation and ‘Upload Document’.
What documentation is sufficient for proof of vaccination?

Retain a copy of your vaccine documentation that includes your name, type of vaccine and the date administered. Examples of acceptable documentation are your customer receipt or your Vaccine Administration Record.

How do I request an exemption?

Fill out the ReadySet survey

  1. Login to your ReadySet account and go to the ‘My Health’ tab
  2. Choose ‘Health Surveys’ from the side navigation
  3. Select ‘Seasonal Flu Immunization Survey’
  4. Choose: ‘I AM REQUESTING AN EXEMPTION from the seasonal flu vaccination for medical or religious reasons’ and complete survey.

Next, submit exemption form

  • After the survey is complete, print out and submit the forms found in the WashU Flu Shot Policy.
  • Once you have submitted your exemption form and received an approval letter, you will need to upload your approval letter as documentation to your ReadySet account.
How do obtain a copy of my vaccine from Readyset?

To print a copy of your proof of vaccination:

  1. Login to your ReadySet account
  2. Go to the ‘My Health’ tab
  3. Choose ‘Test Results’ and ‘Results’ from the side navigation
  4. Select the Results you want to print. For example ‘Seasonal Flu Vaccination Record’
  5. Select the print icon at the top.


For additional information, please contact the Occupational Health Services team at  fluvaccine@wustl.edu.