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University Of Denver To Require Flu Vaccine: 'We're Taking This Seriously'

DENVER (CBS4) - With cold and flu season approaching on Colorado University is requiring everyone on campus to get another vaccine shot. Earlier this month, health officials from the University of Denver announced they would require all students and staff to get a flu vaccine by mid-December.

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"If history tells us anything, we expect it is very likely going to be a very aggressive flu season," said Michael LaFarr the Executive Director of health and Counseling at DU. "It's a part of our overall plan to protect our community. The health and wellbeing of our community."

DU has had an aggressive policy against COVID-19 to keep students in the classroom. Students and staff are required to take a saliva test every nine days. Because of aggressive testing, coronavirus positivity has remained well below 1% this year. With similar symptoms between COVID and flu, the school said it would bring back the 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.

On Monday, Gov. Jared Polis got his flu vaccine and said with more than 1,000 people hospitalized from COVID, a secondary surge of patients with the flu would push many hospitals beyond their capacity.

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"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."

Officials around DU believe their stringent health policies are appreciated on campus. Hundreds more students are on campus than last year, and vaccine clinics are planned each week for the rest of the semester.

"Our enrollment numbers are through the roof," said LaFarr. "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."

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