Flu Vaccine Program and Requirements

| September 28, 2020
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Note: This letter originally appeared as an email sent to all Johns Hopkins students on September 24, 2020. Since it was sent, the Walgreens voucher system has been upgraded and no longer requires that users be on the university network or a VPN.

Dear Students:

While we are all taking active measures to stay safe and protect the health of others in our community amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more crucial than ever to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu, which can have its own serious and disruptive effects and which has symptoms similar to those of COVID-19. Every member of the Johns Hopkins community is strongly urged to get a flu shot, and many of us are required to do so. The university has set up several ways to make the process easy and cost-free.

This year, anyone who is currently spending time on a Johns Hopkins campus, including those living in campus housing or working in labs, will be required to have a flu vaccination or an approved exemption for the 2020–21 academic year by Nov. 20. This policy will continue to apply when we are able to expand campus activity in the future, so even if your classes and activities are completely remote now, you will likely find it helpful to get a flu shot and document compliance with the university, as described below. Students will not be permitted to engage in on-campus activities after Nov. 20 without proof of vaccination or an approved exemption.

Affiliates of the School of Medicine and health system employees should refer to the Johns Hopkins Medicine policy and guidance on the Health, Safety, and Environment website.

You have several options:

  • All Johns Hopkins University students can get a free flu shot at any Walgreens pharmacy anywhere in the United States using the voucher provided by Johns Hopkins. This voucher will also allow Walgreens to automatically inform Johns Hopkins that you have been vaccinated, and no additional action will be necessary.
  • Affiliates with the JHU Wellfleet Plan insurance may also get a free vaccination at any in-network Express Scripts pharmacy, which includes most major pharmacies. If you choose this option, Hopkins will not be automatically informed, so please obtain documentation from the provider so you can submit proof of vaccination to the Student Health and Wellness Center (for students in all schools outside East Baltimore) or University Health Services (for School of Nursing and School of Public Health) when the time comes to return to on-campus activity. Details are on the Student Wellness website.
  • Affiliates with the JHU East Baltimore health plan (EHP) may go to any vaccine network pharmacy for a free vaccination. Most chains and retail pharmacies are included, but the best way to find a participating vaccine pharmacy is to log in to www.caremark.com/wps/portal and find one near you. Again, if you choose this option, please obtain documentation from the provider to submit as described above.
  • For students who are working on campus or living in the area, Johns Hopkins, in partnership with Walgreens, will hold a limited number of local flu vaccine clinics. However, to keep activity at these locations safely distanced, we encourage you to take advantage of your local pharmacy or physician’s office if you are able.

Additional information, including details about religious or medical exemptions, is on the Student Wellness website. Thank you for taking this important step for your health and to reduce the risks our community is facing at this difficult time.


Kevin Shollenberger
Vice President for Student Health and Well-Being