With less than three days until the Nov. 1 deadline to receive a flu vaccine, only 35% of undergraduate students, 45% of graduate students and 60% of faculty have been vaccinated, USC’s chief health officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman said in a Tuesday briefing.
Per a USC Student Health mandate announced in September, all students taking in-person classes or living in university-owned residences are required to be vaccinated against the flu by Nov. 1. Students who do not receive the vaccine will run into trouble completing their Trojan Check, which is required to complete daily tasks like accessing campus or leaving their building if they live in USC housing.
USC Student Health’s system to schedule an appointment and receive a flu vaccine has led to mixed reactions among students. Some had a difficult time booking appointments, while others found the process of getting vaccinated relatively easy.
Senior health and the human sciences major Curtis Ko booked a slot immediately after hearing the news of the mandate, and was able to secure an appointment.
“I scheduled mine really early, like as soon as they were available, and it was really easy,” Ko said. “It took five minutes, but I realize now it’s really hard to get.”
For other students, the process of scheduling an appointment has been difficult and complicated, barring their ability to receive the shot on time.
Christian Kallie, a sophomore majoring in archeology, saw that there were no appointments on the USC campus or the nearby CVS on the corner of 32nd St. and Figueroa St. available when he attempted to book. As a result, he looked for alternatives and traveled to a CVS in downtown Los Angeles in order to receive his shot before the deadline.
An additional reason for the low reported flu vaccination rate among undergraduates is that, like Kallie, some students have received the jab off-campus but have yet to submit proof through the MySHR portal. Junior intelligence and cyber operations major Vedant Vamshidhar has not submitted his proof of his vaccination despite receiving the shot at the CVS in the USC Village.
“I lost the forms and I actually need to figure out how to recover them,” Vamshidhar said.
Some students reported being completely unaware of USC’s flu shot mandate. Graduate student Ishan Narayan studying global communication did not know of the university’s requirement until a few days ago.
“It wasn’t communicated how urgent it was and how mandatory it was to have that,” Narayan said.
For those still needing to get vaccinated, students can make appointments through the USC Student Health Portal, according to USC Student Health, and can receive the shot at the COVID-19 testing areas on campus.
Currently, the first available appointment for the flu vaccine is not until Nov. 8, seven days past the USC deadline.
The on-campus vaccinations are free for all students who are on USC’s student health insurance plan. Students on other insurance plans will receive a $20 charge to their account.
Even though there is a strict deadline to provide proof of receiving the flu shot, Dr. Van Orman said that students will still be able to complete Trojan Check after Nov. 1 for the short-term.
“They will—but not forever. " Van Orman said. “Our goal is to get people vaccinated.”