UHS offers flu vaccinations

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With flu season approaching, UT and the Austin area are combatting the virus by providing flu shots to as many residents as possible.

University Health Services held its first day of flu shot clinics Tuesday at the Student Services Building to provide the UT community with low-cost influenza vaccinations. Shots are $10 without insurance, and the clinics are based on walk-ins only. Tuesday’s clinic was the first in a series that will end Oct. 18.

Sherry Bell, senior program coordinator for UHS, said the center has provided flu shot clinics for more than 20 years. Fall 2011, however, was the first time UHS accepted insurance at its flu shot clinics.

“When UHS reduces barriers to getting a flu shot by filing insurance or offering them at a very low cost and by holding them at convenient locations across campus, Longhorns will take advantage of the opportunity to get the shot,” Bell said.

Bell said UHS ordered 10,000 doses, the same number they ordered last year.

“I think this says that we have a student body, faculty and staff who are highly motivated to stay healthy and perform at their best,” Bell said.

Students, faculty and staff can pay for flu shots from UHS with insurance, $10 in cash or by adding the charge to their What I Owe page. Nurses, nursing students and pharmacy students will administer shots at each clinic.

Biology senior Camille Alilaen directed students to shot stations during Tuesday’s clinic.

“The flu clinic is meant to reach as many students as possible,” Alilaen said. “It helps make flu shots accessible to those who are away from home.”

Nursing junior Erick Enriquez chose to get vaccinated Tuesday. Enriquez said although he did not pay with insurance, he still wanted the vaccination.

“I don’t get sick too often, but I may need it for an emergency when I would get sick,” he said. “I’m studying microbiology right now, and I know it can be very dangerous if you don’t have the vaccine.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year’s flu shots will immunize against the H3N2 variant of the virus, and cases of it have been reported since July. Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services is holding flu shot clinics outside of UT to help prepare the Austin community for flu season.

Carole Barasch, manager of communications and community development at Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services, said the county ordered 6,000 doses of the vaccination to provide for the five flu shot clinics they have scheduled for this year’s flu season.

UHS will continue to hold clinics through Thursday, Oct. 18 at various locations throughout campus. A complete flu shot schedule can be found at healthyhorns.utexas.edu.

Printed on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 as: UHS prevents influenza virus