Seasonal flu shots now available to Northwestern students

Jillian Sandler

With winter right around the corner and many students living together in close quarters, Northwestern University Health Service is now offering the seasonal flu shot to students to help minimize incidences of the flu on campus.

Flu shots are available to registered NU students at the Evanston campus Health Service, 633 Emerson St. Health Service has been offering the vaccine since Saturday, and a bulk email was sent to students on Tuesday to notify them of its availability. This seasonal influenza vaccine will also cover H1N1 influenza, or swine flu.

“We expect to be able to supply everyone who needs a flu shot,” said John Alexander, acting executive director and medical director at NUHS.

Health Service expects to receive 1,500 to 1,600 flu shots in its next order of vaccines.

Appointments to receive the vaccine will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. Appointments will also be available on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

To be eligible to receive the vaccine, students must present a valid WildCARD at the time of appointment. The cost of the vaccine is $25, which must be paid at the time of appointment or billed to the student’s NU account.

Alexander advises students to look into receiving the vaccine to preserve personal health and to prevent the virus from spreading to others. The vaccine will help protect against the flu and minimize its severity, he said.

“If enough people in a closed population are vaccinated, it reduces the incidence of the flu in the whole population, even in those who didn’t get the shot,” Alexander said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 5 and 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each season, and that around 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu-related complications.

Weinberg freshman Alexa Pugh plans to get vaccinated.

“The money you spend on the shot is worth avoiding a week in bed, not having any fun and getting behind on your work,” Pugh said.

On the other hand, Weinberg freshman Nadira Long does not intend to get the shot, and she is counting on the vaccination of others to protect her from the virus.

“Everyone else is getting a flu shot, so I’ll be protected anyway,” Long said.

Though Alexander recommends that all students be vaccinated, he especially encourages those students with chronic conditions, such as respiratory or liver problems or diabetes, and those on immune suppressing medications to receive the shot.

CVS Pharmacy, 1711 Sherman Ave., is also offering flu shots by appointment or walk-in clinic. The cost of the shot is $29.95 without insurance; with insurance, the price could be reduced or even free. Appointments for a shot can be made online.

Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave., will also offer flu shots this Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shots are free with a Medicare card and $25 without one.

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