What is Baylor’s flu vaccine policy?
The College’s flu vaccine policy requires all employees and students to receive a flu vaccine annually. This policy is in line with many other healthcare organizations, including our own affiliated hospitals, and with the CDC’s recommendation that everyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine. View the full policy on the intranet (Baylor login required).

Why is this policy important?
The flu vaccine policy is designed to help keep Baylor patients, as well as employees and students, healthy by reducing the spread of flu in the Baylor and Houston communities. In addition, the policy meets state requirements that healthcare facilities develop and implement policies to protect patients from vaccine preventable diseases and adheres to recommendations from the CDC and other organizations.

How does it affect me?
If you are covered by the policy, then you will need to receive a flu shot or have a valid reason to not get one. You will be required to confirm this through an online flu shot form, called the flu vaccine attestation form. 

Where can I get a flu shot?
The Occupational Health Program (OHP) at Baylor provides free flu shots in different parts of the campus and will publish the schedule when it is available on the OHP website. You may also go to your Baylor doctor or other healthcare provider for your flu vaccine. In addition, many pharmacies and walk-in clinics provide the vaccine.

I work in a Baylor clinic. Can I get my flu shot there?

Most of the Faculty Group Practice clinics will be offering flu shots to employees and physicians who work in the clinic at no cost. Please check with your manager to see if you can receive your shot when you are in clinic.

How do I verify that I got my flu shot?
You will verify that you received your flu vaccine through the online flu shot form. You are not required to submit documentation of the vaccine at the time you complete and submit the form. However, you should keep flu vaccine documentation from OHP or from your doctor or pharmacy for your records. Access the flu shot form.

I did not go through OHP for my flu shot. What documentation do you need and how do I submit it?

Regardless of where you received your vaccine, you must complete the flu shot form to verify that you were vaccinated. No other documentation is required; however you should keep records from you doctor of pharmacy for your files.

By what date do I have to get my flu shot?
Nov. 30.

Can I claim a medical or religious exemption?

The policy does include provisions for opting out. You must still complete the flu shot form and indicate the reason you cannot receive the flu vaccine.

What happens if I do not get a flu shot?
Depending on your work environment, you may be required to take measures to protect the health of patients and others, such as wearing a mask. Disciplinary action for non-compliance is not currently included in the policy but it may be in the future.

I work remotely or abroad. Do I need to get the flu vaccine?

Baylor’s flu policy covers employees in the greater Houston area only. However, you should still get your flu shot to protect your health and that of the community.

Will I have to do this every year?
Yes, the flu vaccine must be repeated annually, and you will be required to provide verification each year. 

If I get a flu shot outside of Baylor’s Occupational Health Program, will I be reimbursed?
No, but the vaccine is covered by most insurance providers. 

Flu Vaccine Questions

Can I get the flu from the flu shot?
No, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. You may experience symptoms such as redness or swelling in the area of the shot or you may experience mild side effects such as headache or low fever; however this is not the flu. 

Is the flu shot safe?
Yes. While you may experience side effects, actually getting the flu is likely to be worse than the side effects. 

I received a flu shot less than a year ago. Is it safe to get one now?
Yes, it is safe.

I’m pregnant. Can I get a flu shot?
Yes. In fact, pregnant women are a group for whom it is specifically recommended and can receive the vaccine during any trimester of pregnancy. 

Why is it important to get a flu shot?
Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the spread of influenza in the community. This protects our patients, our colleagues, our families and ourselves. 

Once you get a flu shot, how long does it take before you are protected?
Generally, up to a couple of weeks. That’s why it’s best to get your flu vaccine early, before flu season is in full swing. 

What type of vaccine does OHP provide?
OHP utilizes a variety of flu vaccine. This may include intradermal or intramuscular. It may include preservative. Unfortunately, OHP cannot ensure that a specific product would be available for a given individual.

Does the OHP vaccine contain mercury?
Thimerosal is an ethyl mercury-based preservative used in some flu vaccines. OHP uses a wide variety of flu product during the season, but you can assume that doses OHP provides contain thimerosal.

Flu Questions

When is flu season?
Influenza occurs year round. However, flu season is generally considered to be from September through March. 

Who is at most risk for getting the flu and flu-related complications?
To learn more about flu and flu-related complications, check out the CDC's information. However, persons younger than 5 years old, older than 65 years old, pregnant women and people with various chronic health conditions are at increased risk.

What should you do if you catch the flu?
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your Baylor doctor or other healthcare provider. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs that can treat the flu. These drugs work better for treatment the sooner they are started.

Can I get the flu mist instead of the shot?
The flu mist is not available for the 2016-2017 flu season because data from the last three years suggested it had reduced protection against the influenza virus. 

Other

Can OHP vaccinate my family too?
No, only employees and students can obtain their flu vaccine through OHP.

I participate in the BCM BeWell program. Can I get points through the Vitality wellness portal for getting my flu vaccine?
Benefits-eligible employees can earn 200 BCM BeWell Vitality points for receiving a flu shot by uploading a Flu Shot Verification to the BCM BeWell wellness portal > Learning Center > Guide to Vitality > Vitality Points > Prevention > Flu Shot. For questions, please email wellness@bcm.edu.