LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the first time, the University of Kentucky will require all graduate and undergraduate students to vaccinate themselves against the flu this season.
"The flu shot is always important," said Professor and Associate Dean Craig Martin of the College of Pharmacy. "If you thought it was important last year, or weren't sure if it was important last year, it is crucial this year."
Martin said that because the seasonal flu symptoms can mimic those associated with COVID-19, an outbreak of flu cases could significantly burden the university and its hospital.
"It would put a strain on our quarantine process. It would stress our ability to contact trace," Martin said, before referencing the impact it would have on the university's Albert Chandler hospital.
"...especially being a campus that has a large medical center attached to it, we have a responsibility to our patients both on-campus and off-campus, to maintain as much capacity as possible," he added.
Many of the students we spoke with don't seem to have a big problem with the school's mandate, but it could be challenging to get every young, free-thinking adult on board with this requirement.
"I don't remember the last time any university came out saying, 'hey, we're going to demand you to get this flu shot when it's a voluntary vaccine,'" said senior Austin Vaughn, before saying he'd have no problem getting the vaccine.
Martin said the university would be setting up flu shots clinics across campus, and those who are uninsured will still be able to receive the vaccine free of charge.
For the remainder of this school year, it'll be their admission price into the lecture halls, and every other building on the campus.