IU Indiana University

IU School of Medicine Flu Vaccination Policy

Indiana University School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, fellows and residents who serve as medical staff, are employed by, or receive training at IU Health and/or Wishard Health Services, are required to receive an influenza vaccination this flu season. The deadline for the vaccine is Saturday, Dec. 15.  

Free flu vaccines clinics are scheduled across campus from September to November. For more information on vaccine clinic dates and locations, visit the IUPUI Health Services flu page, which includes a complete flu clinic schedule.

Vaccinations are also available from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays at IUPUI Health Services in Coleman Hall, Suite 100.

Individuals who plan to receive a flu vaccine should bring a valid IU or IU Health picture ID and consider wearing a short sleeve shirt.

For more information on the new flu policy, see the Flu FAQ:

What are the requirements of IU School of Medicine’s flu vaccine program?

The IU School of Medicine is working with hospitals in the greater Indianapolis area to protect hospital patients and promote good health. This flu season, IU School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, fellows and residents considered employees, affiliated physicians, volunteers, house staff, students, contactors and vendors at IU Health and Wishard Health Services must receive the flu vaccination or apply for an exemption from receiving the vaccine. The Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center strongly encourages all IU School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows that practice in its hospital to obtain the flu vaccine.

Why is the IU School of Medicine requiring a flu vaccination for faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows?

Health care providers are responsible for delivering the best care in the safest environment. Influenza has the highest death rate of any disease for which a proven vaccine exists and can be fatal in hospitalized patients who are seriously ill. To help protect patients from flu and the serious complications it can cause, the IU School of Medicine is requiring mandatory influenza vaccinations for faculty, staff, students, fellows and residents considered employees, affiliated physicians, volunteers house staff,students, contactors and vendors at IU Health and Wishard Health Services.

Are IU Health and Wishard Health Services the only hospitals requiring flu vaccinations?

Some hospital systems across the U.S. have already implemented mandatory employee flu vaccination programs. This program is based on recommendations by numerous major regulatory, health, national, scientific and accrediting agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association. In central Indiana, the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety (ICPS) has formed a team of all city hospitals to develop a standard policy for flu vaccination. The goal is to have a consistent policy for all hospitals in the greater  Indianapolis area. ICPS partners include Community Health Network, Franscican St. Francis Health, Indiana University Health, St. Vincent Health and Wishard Health Services.  

I don’t work in a hospital or directly with patients. Why would I be required to get a flu vaccine?

Faculty in non-clinical IU School of Medicine departments will not be required to get the flu vaccine. However, all IU School of Medicine factulty, staff, students, fellows and residents considered employees, affiliated physicians, volunteers, house staff, students, contractors and vendors at IU Health and Wishard Health Services will be required to get the vaccine.

How can I get the flu vaccine?

IU School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows may receive free flu shots from IUPUI Health Services (IUPUI HS). Flu shots will be available at IUPUI Health Services (Coleman Hall, Suite 100) from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays starting Sept. 4, 2012. In addition, IUPUI Health Services staff will hold flu vaccination clinics at various locations on campus this fall. Flu vaccination clinic times, dates and locations will be announced in Scope, the official internal e-newsletter of the IU School of Medicine, as well as the IUPUI Health Services flu page.

How long do I have to get the flu vaccine?

All faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows must be vaccinated by Saturday, Dec. 15. IUPUI flu clinics will be held in September and October. Flu clinic dates, times and locations will be announced in Scope.

How do I "prove" that I have received a flu vaccine?

When you get a flu vaccine, please be sure to obtain a copy of the signed consent form, as it is “proof” that you received the vaccine. Consider taking a picture of the signed consent form with your smart phone so you have a copy with you at all times. The Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety considers the individual receiving the flu vaccine to be responsible for showing “proof” that he/she has been vaccinated.

How does IU School of Medicine keep track of who has received the flu vaccine?

IUPUI Health Services (IUPUI HS) will be keeping track of IU School of Medicine personnel who have received the flu vaccine. Flu vaccines given by IUPUI HS will automatically be documented in the IUPUI HS electronic medical record. IUPUI HS will provide certain departments, such as the Graduate Medical Education office, with flu vaccine compliance reports. Departments will send reminders to those individuals who are listed as non-compliant.

Can I get vaccinated outside of IUPUI?

Yes. However, it is essential that you provide IUPUI Health Services (IUPUI HS) with documentation of your vaccine so your compliance can be tracked. Upon receipt of the flu vaccine, please fax or email a copy of your signed flu vaccine consent form to IUPUI HS at 317-278-6929 or healthsv@iupui.edu

Who is exempt from getting the flu vaccine?

Faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows who have a documented medical condition(s) that are contraindicated, such as a serious allergy to the vaccine. Religious exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Why should I get vaccinated against the flu?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect patients and yourself from influenza, and from spreading it to others. Influenza is one of the most common and vaccine-preventable diseases that can lead to hospitalization and death. Influenza kills more Americans each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. Annually, 24,000 to 36,000 people in the U.S. die from the flu.

In addition to vaccination what else can I do to reduce my chances of catching or spreading flu?

Even in those that are vaccinated it is important to stay home when ill. There are many respiratory viral illnesses that pose a risk to vulnerable patients that are spread during the flu season. Additionally covering your cough and hand hygiene can prevent the spread in ourselves and our patients and visitors.

I never get sick, so why do I need to get the flu vaccine?

Even if you don’t have symptoms, if you’re not vaccinated, you may be a carrier and can transfer the disease to others, including patients, co-workers and family members.

I got vaccinated for the flu last year; do I have to get vaccinated again?

The specific flu virus strains circulating in the community typically change from year to year, so the vaccine that you received last year may not protect you from the new circulating flu virus strains this year. That’s why the vaccine is updated annually and why it is important for you to get vaccinated every flu season.

Will the seasonal flu vaccine protect me against H1N1 flu?

The 2012 flu vaccine includes both the seasonal influenza vaccination and the H1N1 vaccination. Safeguarding your health with the flu vaccine offered at IUPUI Health Services will provide the best protection against common flu strains and reduces the chances of contracting influenza by 70 to 90 percent.

I am pregnant. Will the flu vaccine hurt my baby?

No. In fact, it’s especially important for pregnant women to get vaccinated, as they are more likely to have serious complications if they get the flu during pregnancy.

What if I am a new mother?

It’s very important that new mothers receive the vaccine to reduce the risk of passing the virus to their newborn baby.  Newborns are at extremely high risk of getting the flu and cannot be vaccinated until they are six months old. All other family members are also encouraged to get immunized so that they don't transmit the flu to the newborn.

Can the flu shot give me the flu?

No. The injection is a killed virus vaccine; therefore, it is impossible to get the flu from the injection. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to develop antibodies to protect against the flu. If you get sick during this two-week period, it means you were exposed to the flu and did not have a chance to develop protection yet.

Can the FluMist (live virus vaccine) give me the flu?

Live influenza vaccine viruses are attenuated (weakened) and rarely spread from person to person. Even if they do, they are unlikely to cause illness.

Should I get the flu vaccine if I’m sick?

If you have a moderate or severe illness with a fever, you should wait to get vaccinated until your symptoms lessen.

I’m afraid of needles. Do I have to get a flu vaccine?

Yes. You still have to get the flu vaccine, but there is also a nasal-spray vaccine approved for use in healthy people, 2 to 49 years of age, who are not pregnant and meet other health screening criteria that will be reviewed by IUPUI Health Services.

If I’m a resident, do I have to get the vaccine?

Yes. IU Health and Wishard Health Services are requiring mandatory influenza vaccinations for its employees, affiliated physicians, volunteers, house staff, students, contractors and vendors. The Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center strongly encourages IU School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows to obtain the flu vaccine.

If I’m a medical student or nursing student, do I have to get the vaccine?

Yes. IU Health and Wishard Health Services are requiring mandatory influenza vaccinations for its employees, affiliated physicians, volunteers, house staff, students, contractors and vendors. The Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center strongly encourages IU School of Medicine and IU School of Nursing faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows to obtain the flu vaccine.