With the purpose of keeping influenza infections under control, the Wellness Center is offering a finite number of free flu vaccinations for this academic year.
Between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, students can receive flu vaccinations with no appointments necessary. Should the walk-in times not be convenient, students can make an appointment at the Wellness Center to get a flu vaccine at a separate time while supplies last.
Denise Snyder, the Director of Health Services, explained that the Wellness Center receives gift funds that are used to purchase vaccinations for students. As of Sept. 23, the Wellness Center had purchased 200 doses and had already administered 115. Vaccinations past the 200 allotted will cost students $10.
The flu vaccine covers four strands of the flu: two influenza B and two influenza A. The Wellness Center is expecting an active flu season this year, with a peak between January and February.
It can take two weeks for the flu vaccine to take full effect, so students are encouraged to plan accordingly based on their class schedule and personal events.
Snyder noted that there was an uptick in both COVID and flu infections in the first three weeks of the academic semester. This uptick has been on a significant decline over the last 10+ days.
COVID-19 vaccinations, however, are currently not being offered at the Wellness Center.
Snyder explained that their lack of availability is due to a change in the ordering process for the vaccine. Though COVID-19 vaccines were directly provided by the state or county in the past, the Wellness Center must now purchase their own supply at a higher cost than that of the flu vaccine.
While the flu shot would cost approximately $16 a dose, Snyder said, the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine would range from $120 to $170 a dose. At that rate, the same number of COVID-19 vaccines would cost at minimum $24,000, compared to the $3,200 cost for the flu vaccine.
Currently, the Wellness Center is looking to secure a new way to purchase the vaccine or to have local retail pharmacies host vaccine clinics, but as of now there is no expected date for these services to become available.
Similar to the flu vaccine, Snyder said that COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are likely to require yearly re-administration.
For students that wish to receive their COVID-19 vaccine or booster, the Wellness Center suggests making appointments with a local retail pharmacy such as CVS or Walgreens. For those looking to get their flu vaccine, the Wellness Center is available during their walk-in times or by scheduling an appointment.