Influenza Vaccine Requirements for Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The following information was shared with me by a missionary who was told he must get the influenza vaccine, against his wishes, while serving in a foreign (not US) mission. He respectfully asserted his right to informed consent and received this email in response.

From: [Mission Doctor]
Date: Thu, 18 Apr. 2019, 9:24 pm
Subject: Influenza vaccinations
To: [Missionary]

Attached is your electronic signed Missionary Application.  As you can see you agreed to receive vaccinations.  Attached also are two policies concerning vaccinations.  On states that although receiving a vaccination is a personal decision, all missionaries should be encouraged to receive an annual flu vaccination. In other words, an annual influenza immunization is recommended.  This policy was approved April 2018.  A second policy states Immunizations are not a requirement for missionary service, but young or senior missionaries who decline or are unable to receive immunizations will serve in their home countries.  Influenzas [sic] is one of the vaccines but a personal exemption is not listed.  This policy was approved December 2018.  As I understand it the latest  policy become the guiding rule.  If I am wrong, my apologies.I still respect your right to choose.   I will still help you medically any time and any place.  I do not harbor any ill feelings.  Best of everything to you future missionary work.

[Mission Doctor]

The mother and missionary requested further clarification on the flu shot from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Missionary Department. Here is that communication:

From: Randall James Ryser 

Date: Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 6:08 PM

Subject: ______ and Flu vaccination

Sister ______,

For good reasons, the missionary department strongly recommends that missionaries receive the influenza vaccine in the appropriate season for the part of the world in which they are serving. 

My experience in the missionary department and my understanding of the missionary medical policy is that the influenza vaccination is strongly recommended, but not mandatory as a condition for continuing missionary service. A prior adverse reaction would be a reason not to receive that vaccine again.

The church policy for influenza vaccination is attached. 

Randall Ryser


    1. What a fabulous talk! Elder Wilson captures the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ–agency and accountability. Thank you!

  1. So did the Savior, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick.” (Mark 2:17)

    Am I mistaken that Mark was a doctor as well…and a disciple of the Lord?

  2. I, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, am so relieved and happy to see these statements regarding the church’s stand on the vaccine issue. The freedom to choose, is so very vital and important, as it pertains to all issues in our lives, especially on medical decisions. Thank you for clarifying and educating us.

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