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FAQ: Flu

Do I need a flu shot this year if I am wearing a mask and physically distancing from others?

Yes. It is essential that everyone who can get a flu shot takes the time to do so. Flu is always a dangerous disease, but it can be even more deadly when combined with the risks associated with COVID-19.

Is MIT Medical offering on campus flu shots during the 2021–2022 flu season?

Yes. The 2021 campus flu clinics will happen at Walker Memorial (Building 50).

I am not a MIT Medical patient, but I normally get my shot on campus. Can I receive my flu shot through MIT Medical this year?

Yes. MIT Medical is making flu shots available to all Covid Pass eligible employees and campus residents.

I am a MIT Medical patient, but I am working remotely. Can I come to campus for my flu shot?

You can, but we encourage you to consider other options. Although you are eligible to come to MIT to get your shot, all MIT-sponsored insurance plans will allow you to get a flu shot anywhere Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is accepted.

How many flu vaccinations will I need for the 2021–22 flu season?

Adults will need just one vaccination. Children between 6 months and 9 years of age who are getting a flu vaccination for the first time will need two doses, spaced at least a month apart.

Can my family members get their flu shots at an MIT walk-in clinic or at MIT Medical?

Yes, but only if they have a primary care provider at MIT Medical.

I’m a student, and I need to file a medical or religious exemption to the flu shot. How do I do that?

The request for a medical exemption must come from your doctor and must state the reason why you cannot receive the vaccine. For a religious exemption, you must state that a vaccine conflicts with your sincerely held religious belief. In either case, you must submit an exemption request form by email.

I can’t make it to a walk-in clinic; how can I get my shot?

If you can’t attend a walk-in clinic, you will need to get your flu shot elsewhere, or call your care provider and schedule an appointment.

Will my health insurance cover the cost if I get a shot off campus?

Probably, but you may want to check with your insurance provider. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be able to get a flu shot at a retail pharmacy like CVS Minute Clinic with no out-of-pocket costs. Certain restrictions apply, based on the type of coverage you have. All MIT-sponsored insurance plans allow for flu shots anywhere that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is accepted.

I need documentation of my flu shot; how can I get it?

There are several ways to get documentation of your shot:

  •  You can request written documentation at the clinic.
  •  You can receive documentation via Covid Pass.
  •  You can contact our Medical Records team (medcor@med.mit.edu), and we’ll track down the information you need.

Can people with egg allergy get the flu vaccine?

Yes, but not at MIT Medical’s walk-in clinics. FluBlok is a flu vaccine that is produced without chicken eggs. MIT Medical offers FluBlok shots by appointment for MIT Medical patients only. If you’ve had a reaction to egg in the past—hives, for example—speak to your primary care provider before you get a flu shot.

How can I keep from getting sick?

The precautions you are taking to avoid COVID-19 will also help you avoid the flu. Viruses are typically spread through uncovered coughs and sneezes. You can become sick through close contact with other people or after touching a contaminated surface, and then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. Even wearing a mask helps protect you against the flu!

Follow these guidelines to protect yourself and others:

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds each time. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home and avoid others if you are feeling sick.

How should we clean workspaces if someone in our area becomes sick with flu-like symptoms?

To prevent the spread of illness, disinfect commonly touched hard surfaces in the workplace by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label. This includes countertops, doorknobs, telephones, copy machines, workstations, and bathroom surfaces. Studies have shown that flu viruses do not remain infectious on environmental surfaces for more than eight hours. Frequent hand washing is the best way to avoid infection from contaminated surfaces.

MIT is cleaning all surfaces every day during the pandemic, but this shouldn’t prevent you from being extra cautious and keeping surfaces clean whenever possible.

How do I know if I have the flu or COVID-19?

The flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, so it is hard to know which disease you may have contracted. In fact, most sources refer to COVID-19 symptoms as “flu-like symptoms.” To be sure, call your primary care provider directly. They may ask you to take a COVID-19 test.

If you are a Covid Pass participant and feel ill for any reason, list your symptoms on the Covid Pass app, then stay home and wait for MIT Medical to contact you. Do not come to campus if you have symptoms.

What if I have additional questions?

Send an email to comments-fluinfo@mit.edu.