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A Penn community member receives their flu vaccination at Houston Hall during Penn's second annual flu clinic on Oct. 16, 2019. Credit: Seavmeiyin Kun

Penn's annual flu clinic is set to vaccinate more community members than ever before, as the University flu vaccine mandate will take effect. 

The flu clinic — which provides vaccines to students, faculty, and staff for free — will open Oct. 4 and close Oct. 8. The clinic will also now operate out of Gimbel Gymnasium in Pottruck Health and Fitness Center after the space successfully hosted a COVID-19 vaccination site last spring, Director of Campus Health Ashlee Halbritter said.

As Penn prepares to enforce its flu vaccine requirement for the 2021-2022 academic year, Halbritter said scaling up the size and scope of the vaccine clinic was necessary.

The flu clinic will be open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 through Oct. 7 and will be open from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Oct. 8. This year's flu clinic will last one week, as opposed to just three days as it often has in the past.

"Getting a flu vaccination is more important now than ever, as this flu season coincides with the continued spread of COVID-19 in our region," Halbritter said. "Not only does the flu vaccine help to prevent serious illness and protect the vulnerable population, it can help our healthcare system from becoming more overwhelmed while simultaneously caring for COVID-19 patients."

Halbritter said the University is expecting that the majority of Penn community members will receive their flu vaccine at the upcoming clinic. In an effort to make sure all community members can get their shot, the clinic will feature extended hours and will not require appointments.

The flu vaccine requirement arrives after Penn required students returning to campus for the 2021-2022 academic year to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In previous years, students have reported simple and easy experiences at the flu clinic. Halbritter said that Penn community members are typically in and out the door within 10 minutes.