When talk of COVID-19 vaccine mandates began to gain steam, many observers warned that the government’s health requirements would not end there. If officials can make people take shots or wear masks for the sake of public health, what’s to stop them from implementing new requirements for vaccines?
At the University of Denver, the answer to that question is apparently “nothing.”
The state-run school announced this week that not only must students and staff get a COVID-19 vaccination, they now must also get a flu shot, KCNC-TV reported Tuesday.
Students and staff at the university have already been subject to strict policies against COVID-19. Not only are they required to be vaccinated, KCNC said, they are also required to take a saliva test every nine days. According to the school, this has kept the coronavirus positivity at below 1%.
Now with flu season on the horizon, the school is piling on to the health requirements — all in the name of “health and safety,” as noted on the university’s website:
As we enter cold and flu season, protecting the health and safety of our campus community is first and foremost on our minds at the University of Denver. Influenza and COVID-19 illness can include similar symptoms, occur simultaneously and pose serious health risks to members of our community. As a result, and as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the University of Denver will now require all students, faculty and staff who live, work and/or attend classes on campus, to get an annual influenza vaccination.
The Health and Counseling Center (HCC) remains committed during this public health crisis to promote student success by providing comprehensive and integrated healthcare, counseling, advocacy, health promotion, and recovery support and services.
“If history tells us anything, we would expect it is very likely going to be a pretty aggressive flu season,” university Executive Director of Health and Counseling Michael LaFarr said. “It’s a part of our overall plan to protect our community. The health and wellbeing of our community.”
The school said that with COVID-19 and the flu having similar symptoms the school believes it “can’t take chances,” KCNC reported
“From people living in the residence halls to close proximity of the classrooms, it puts us at greater risk than other environments,” LaFarr told the station. “So, we need as many safety mechanisms along the way to protect, and we’ve got a vaccine.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) told KCNC that he supports Centennial State residents getting the flu shot and hopes citizens will take advantage of it, but he said he is not interested in making the shot mandatory across the state.