Flu Shot Recommendation

Ohio State strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff – whether living, learning and working on a campus or at home – to get a flu shot this fall.

The flu season is coinciding with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, meaning it’s more important than ever for members of the university to stay healthy. A safe and effective way to keep flu at bay is to get a flu shot.

With both flu viruses and COVID-19 circulating at the same time during flu season, the flu shot can prevent flu cases and reduce the risk for more serious infections that require hospitalization – which would reduce the burden on the health care system, already under pressure during the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu shots for anyone older than 6 months and for high-risk individuals and health care professionals. According to the CDC, the flu shot can reduce the risk of getting the flu by up to 60%, lessen the severity of symptoms in people who do get infected, and stop the spread of flu to others.

In addition, some symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar, and both are spread from person to person. Flu cases could be mistaken for COVID-19 and drive up the need for coronavirus testing – potentially putting stress on COVID-19 testing capacity.

Where to get a flu shot

There are many ways to get a flu shot, and faculty, staff and students should start by checking their health insurance plan to understand the best option.

Students

For students covered under the Student Health Insurance Benefits plan, the cost of flu shots is covered 100% at many provider and pharmacy locations, including Student Health Services at the Wilce Student Health Center. More information is available at Student Health Insurance.

Student Life Student Health Services offers several options:

  • Schedulable Influenza Clinics (appointment required)
  • Schedule an appointment with the Preventive Medicine team via My BuckMD
  • Schedule an appointment with the Pharmacy via My BuckMD and select “Vaccine Pharmacy Appointment” under appointment type
  • Ask your medical provider during any scheduled appointment

For additional information about flu shot benefit coverage or how best to obtain a flu shot, contact your insurance carrier. Ask how flu shots are covered by your insurance, and confirm where you can get them from network providers and pharmacies.

If you have questions as to whether you should receive the flu shot, contact your primary care provider or Student Health Services. Questions can be sent via secure messaging through My BuckMD.  

Faculty and staff

  • Retail pharmacy: Faculty, staff and their dependent family members (over age 7) enrolled in a university medical plan can get a flu shot at retail pharmacies in the OSU Health Plan network at no charge and with no prescription. Pharmacies covered by the plan include Kroger, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Meijer and Costco, as well as Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Pharmacies at The James, Doan Hall and Ohio State East Hospital. (Non-preferred pharmacies, such as CVS, are subject to copay/co-insurance/deductible.) More information is available on the OSU Health Plan website.
  • On campus: Make an appointment with a flu shot event on campus. All faculty and staff eligible for medical benefits can get a complimentary flu shot at an on-campus location while appointments are available.
  • Wexner Medical Center faculty and staff can also make an appointment at University Health Services, and clinical staff can get a flu shot from a unit flu shot ambassador. 
  • Primary Care Provider: If you are enrolled in an Ohio State medical plan, flu shots are considered preventive care and are covered at 100%. If you are not enrolled in an Ohio State plan, check with your insurance provider and primary care physician.
  • Contact your insurance carrier for additional information about flu shot benefit coverage or how best to obtain a flu shot. Those with the OSU Health Plan can check the OSU Health Plan website or call 614-292-4700.
  • Questions about whether to receive a flu shot should be directed to your primary care provider.

(Student employees and graduate associates should follow guidelines for students.)


Please reference this website for the most up-to-date guidelines. The university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force’s Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup will continue monitoring changing conditions and consult with local and state health authorities. Recommendations and requirements will be refined as needed.