City starts flu shots Saturday, NU to follow suit this month

Andy Nelson

Evanston’s health department will begin giving flu shots to residents and non-residents Saturday.

From 8 a.m. to noon, residents can get the vaccinations at the Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.

After that, the Health and Human Services Department will provide shots at various locations around Evanston through Nov. 15.

The city’s vaccinations cost $15 for Evanston residents and $20 for non-residents.

A schedule of vaccinations and locations is available online at the city’s Web site, www.cityofevanston.org.

People with weak immune systems and the elderly are the people who need shots the most, said Karen Seals, chief of the city’s personal health services division.

Searle Student Health Service will begin offering flu inoculations to students later this month, said head nurse Sue Whiting.

The shots will cost $9 for students. Faculty and staff who want a vaccination will be able to get it through Northwestern’s Human Resources Department for $15.

Whiting said even students who think they already have had the flu should get a shot.

“Influenza isn’t just vomiting, nausea and a sniffly nose,” she said. “We use the term ‘flu’ in a general sense, but the vaccine (targets a specific strain).”

The time and money it takes for a student to get a vaccination is worth it, Whiting said.

“Nine dollars and a flu shot are a lot cheaper than having to retake a class because you missed the week of the final,” she said.

Those who think they may be allergic to flu shots should check with a doctor before getting inoculated, Seals said. Students with allergies to eggs also should not get a flu shot because eggs are used in the vaccine-making process, she said.

About 1,850 people received Evanston flu shots last year. Searle, which gave 2,845 shots, usually provides more because city residents often get them from a family doctor or at work, Whiting said.

A national vaccine shortage last year made it more difficult to get vaccinated, but Seals and Whiting said the supply will be sufficient this year.

But Weinberg sophomore Terri Swan said she probably would not get a shot.

“I’m afraid of needles,” she said. “Anything that’s not absolutely necessary I tend to avoid.”