City, NU will offer shots to thwart winter flu cases

Christina Salter

Flu season might be coming up, but it’s still possible to avoid a week of sneezing, coughing and being generally miserable. Several Evanston locations, including Searle Hall, are offering the flu vaccine.

The Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave., and Dominick’s Finer Foods, 2748 Green Bay Road, will both have the vaccine available today. The Levy Center is offering flu shots to all ages from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shots cost $30 and are available for walk-ins only. The center will also offer the pneumonia vaccine for $40.

Dominick’s pharmacy will offer shots from 3 to 7 p.m. Dominick’s charges $28 per shot and will offer them through January.

For cost-conscious students, Northwestern University Health Service is the cheapest option. Searle will give flu shots in the next few weeks – depending on when the supply is received – and the shots will be given by appointment only, said Sue Whiting, college health nurse and clinical practice manager for Searle.

Searle charges $20, said Whiting, adding that students should receive an e-mail when the shot is available.

According to Whiting, college students are particularly at risk for contracting the flu.

“(The shot) is recommended in situations where people engage in activities in fairly close quarters,” Whiting said. “Students who are not generally well nourished and well rested are at greater risk.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on average 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year. For healthy people under age 65, the vaccine prevents 70-90 percent cases of influenza.

Other places in Evanston to get a flu shot are CVS Pharmacy, 1711 Sherman Ave., and Walgreens, 2102 Green Bay Road. CVS had their first flu shot clinic Tuesday; the next opportunity is Nov. 6 from 4 to 8 p.m. CVS charges $30, or $27 with an ExtraCare Card.

Walgreens will offer the shot Dec. 4 from 2 to 8 p.m. Walgreens charges $24.99 and encourages making an appointment.

Flu season can run from October through May, and the best time for vaccination is in October or November, according to the Central for Disease Control’s Web site. A shortage of the vaccine is not expected this year, the Web site said.

Medill sophomore Rachel Koontz said she will likely get a flu shot from Searle because it’s the most convenient location.

“As soon as the flu hits it just runs rampant in the dorms,” Koontz said.

But not all students plan to take advantage of the shots offered in Evanston.

Integrated Marketing Communications graduate student Winnie Ching said flu shots make her nervous and she doesn’t plan to get one.

“I just plan to get sick,” Ching said. “I think I’m in the minority. (A shot) is probably a smart idea.”

Reach Christina Salter at [email protected]