Dear Rutgers Colleagues:
It is the time of year when we begin to look forward to upcoming gatherings with family and friends. Which is why I write today with an important reminder to protect yourself and the ones you care for from influenza by getting your flu shot. I am also writing to declare December 1, 2019 to be the start of Flu Season for Rutgers personnel (as per Policy 100.3.1).
Flu vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent the flu, lessen its symptoms, and reduce its spread. Flu vaccination not only helps keep us individually well, but also protects the most vulnerable in our communities. The flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness and it is recommended that almost everyone 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine every year. The NJ Department of Health is already tracking flu activity throughout the state and NJ’s flu activity level is currently moderate.
All Covered Individuals, including Health Care Personnel who work directly with patients, are routinely present in Patient Care Areas, or who handle material that could spread infection, are required to have a seasonal flu vaccination—or wear a mask while in Patient Care Areas—during Flu Season. Please see Policy 100.3.1 to determine if this requirement applies to you. Any Covered Individual who fails to comply with this policy may be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.
Flu Season typically runs through March 31, but seasons in which flu activity remains high for an extended period of time—as was the case last year—may call for extended precaution. I will communicate the exact conclusion of Flu Season by email in the spring.
I wish everyone in the Rutgers community a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University