The COVID-19 vaccine is no longer the only required vaccine for students and staff on the University of Denver's campus.

In the wake of cold and flu season, combined with the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the University of Denver is now requiring all students, faculty, and staff who live, work, and/or attend classes on campus to get the flu shot no later than mid-December.

According to CBS4, Michael LaFarr, executive director of Health and Counseling at DU said that university officials are expecting a very aggressive flu season; "it's a part of our overall plan to protect our community. The health and wellbeing of our community.”

The University of Denver has gone to far lengths to keep its students and staff on campus throughout the pandemic - as such, they've implemented strict protocols in an effort to protect the campus community during this time, and it seems to be working.

All students and staff at DU are required to take a saliva test every nine days; CBS4 reported that, as a result of aggressive testing, the COVID-19 positivity rate on DU's campus has remained well below 1% this year.

Last October, DU implemented a flu vaccine requirement for all students and staff as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Due to the fact that many COVID-19 symptoms and flu symptoms overlap/are similar to one another, the university has ultimately decided to bring back its flu vaccine requirement this year.

“From people living in the residence halls to close proximity of the classrooms, it puts us at greater risk than other environments. So, we need as many safety mechanisms along the way to protect and we’ve got a vaccine,” LaFarr said.

Looking beyond the DU community, Governor Polis shared earlier this week that more than 1,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 across Colorado. Should hospital capacities surge with flu patients during flu season, many hospitals could very well be pushed over-capacity. In wake of this potential reality, Polis got his flu shot on Monday (Oct. 18).

“We are in a situation where we simply can’t afford as a state to have our normal flu numbers, we’ve got to beat this thing,” Polis said. “We’ve got to keep that number low and the best way to do that is get vaccinated.”

DU officials are confident that the health policies they've put in place on campus have been received well, as hundreds of more students are on campus now than there were last year.

“Our enrollment numbers are through the roof,” LaFarr said. “I think people are recognizing we’re taking this seriously, we’re protecting them. Sure, I can’t say every person is on board, but I would say the vast majority are.”

The question is - will Northern Colorado schools be the next to implement this new vaccine requirement?

Share your thoughts about DU's decision to require the flu shot for all students & staff - and whether or not you think other schools should follow suit - on our New Country 99.1 app.

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