No Shortage of Flu Shots for Winter’s Cold Season

Laura Schocker

By Laura SchockerThe Daily Northwestern

Despite nationwide distribution problems, Northwestern has enough flu vaccines to inoculate its campus community, administrators announced Friday.

The shots are available at Searle Student Health Service for $20, and an appointment is recommended. Plans are still being discussed as to whether Searle will distribute the shots at residence halls or other on-campus locations.

People who received last year’s flu shot do not have protection against this year’s strains of the virus, said Dr. Donald Misch, executive director of Health Services.

Students should obtain their flu shots as quickly as possible, preferably no later than November or December, he said.

“It takes four to six weeks to reach maximum immunity, so earlier is better,” Misch said, adding that students can still get the shots throughout the winter. “Sooner is best, but later is better than never.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported on its Web site that it expects about 75 million doses of influenza vaccine to be distributed by the end of this month. By the end of this winter, it expects that number to rise to 110 million to 115 million doses.

Over the past two years, the CDC has reported shortages of the vaccine during flu season. This season, it reported that it expects to overcome its difficulties.

“Once again they’re having problems and a temporary shortage,” Misch said. “But that’s not us. We have ours.”

Because of their tendency to live, work and socialize in relatively close quarters, Misch cautioned that college students are especially at risk to contract the flu.

“Students are generally healthy and less likely to die from the flu,” he said. “But academically, the flu can be a near-death experience. It can really disrupt your life.”

Every student who gets a flu shot also reduces the overall spread of the illness on campus, he said.

“It’s a public health service,” Misch said. “The more people who are immune, the less the flu will spread.”

Despite the availability of the shots on campus, some students said they will not get the vaccination.

“I’m afraid of needles,” said Allegra Clark, a Communication freshman. “Even though I know it’s good for me, I’m a bit intimidated.”

Clark said that, to her, getting a shot does not yet seem important.

“If the flu was spreading around campus or someone in my dorm had it, I might get one,” Clark said.

Reach Laura Schocker at [email protected]

Flu vaccinationsGet a headstart on battling cold-and-flu season by getting your flu vaccination by the end of October. Where: Searle Student Health Service.When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointment recommended.