Flu Information

This fall and winter, getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever to support the health and well-being of yourself, your friends and family and the Syracuse University community. As recommended by the Public Health and Emergency Management subcommittee of the Fall 2020 reopening taskforce, the University expects that all faculty and staff receive a flu vaccine to help further protect the campus community from COVID-19.

Three ways faculty and staff can get vaccinated:

  1. Visit your primary care doctor: If you are a member of a Syracuse University health plan, you and your eligible dependents may obtain covered vaccines through your doctor’s office using your Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) ID card. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone age 6 months or older, and a high-dose vaccine may be available to individuals age 65 years or older.
  2. Stop by a local pharmacy: For maximum flexibility, you may use either your OptumRx or your Excellus BCBS member ID card when receiving covered vaccines at a participating pharmacy for $0 copay.
  3. Attend a flu clinic at Syracuse University: Fall 2020 on-campus flu vaccine clinics ended on Friday, Nov. 6.

Flu vaccine reporting for faculty and staff:

  • If you received your flu vaccine at a clinic held at the stadium or Skybarn, no further action is needed.
  • If you received your flu vaccine outside of a clinic at Skybarn or the stadium or are eligible for a medical or religious exemption, you will be expected to complete the brief flu attestation survey using the button below.
    • What qualifies as a medical exemption from the influenza vaccine? If your physician indicates that in their professional opinion, flu immunization is medically contraindicated and would endanger your health—this would qualify as a medical exemption.
    • What qualifies as a religious exemption from the influenza vaccine? If receiving the flu immunization conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs—this would qualify as a religious exemption.
Flu attestation survey


Efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as stay-at-home and shelter-in-place order, have led to decreased use of routine preventive medical services, including immunization services. Ensuring that people continue or start getting routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for protecting people and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks, including flu. Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations, which further strain the healthcare system.

For the upcoming flu season, flu vaccination will be very important to reduce flu because it can help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and thus lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A flu vaccine may also provide several individual health benefits, including keeping you from getting sick with flu, reducing the severity of your illness if you do get flu and reducing your risk of a flu-associated hospitalization.

Syracuse University is a private institution and can mandate this as a way to protect the health and resources of the SU community.

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.  COVID-19 is caused by the infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.  Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.  Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. Learn more from the CDC's Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19 page.

While it is not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it is likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that ALL people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

Yes. It is possible to have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time.  Health experts are still studying how common this can be.

Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.  Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalizations 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.

Syracuse University will be vaccinating with the egg-based quadrivalent inactivated vaccine.  We will have a small amount of the cell-based vaccine available for those with severe egg allergies.  The university will not have the nasal inhaled version of the vaccine (flumist.)  Flumist is a form of live vaccine and due to the virus still being able to replicate we have decided against administering.