Wellness center offers flu shots but no COVID-19 vaccines

Wellness Center by Peyton Poitras
Image by Peyton Poitras

In order to keep influenza infections under control, the Wellness Center is offering a limited number of free flu vaccinations for this academic year.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., students can get flu shots without an appointment. If the walk-in time is not convenient, students can make an appointment at the Wellness Center to receive a flu vaccine at a different time while supplies last.

Dennis Snyder, director of health services, said the Wellness Center receives gift funds that are used to purchase vaccinations for students. As of September 23, the Wellness Center had purchased 200 doses and 115 had already been administered. Students will have to pay $10 for more than the 200 vaccinations allotted.

The flu vaccine covers four types of flu: two influenza B and two influenza A. The Wellness Center is expecting an active flu season this year, with a peak between January and February.

It may take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to have full effect, so students are encouraged to plan accordingly based on their class schedules and personal events.

Snyder noted that both COVID and flu infections had increased in the first three weeks of the academic semester. This momentum has declined significantly in the last 10+ days.

However, COVID-19 vaccinations are not currently being offered at the Wellness Center.

Snyder said their lack of availability is due to a change in the vaccine ordering process. Although in the past COVID-19 vaccines were provided directly by the state or county, the wellness center now must purchase its own supply at a higher cost than the flu vaccine.

While a flu shot will cost about $16 per dose, a COVID-19 vaccine will cost $120 to $170 per dose, Snyder said. At that rate, the same number of COVID-19 vaccines would cost a minimum of $24,000, while the flu vaccine would cost $3,200.

Currently, the Wellness Center is looking to secure a new way to purchase the vaccine or to host vaccine clinics at local retail pharmacies, but there is no expected date for these services to be available yet.

Similar to the flu vaccine, Snyder said COVID-19 vaccines and boosters will likely require annual re-administration.

For students who want to receive their COVID-19 vaccine or booster, the Wellness Center suggests making appointments with a local retail pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens. For those who wish to get a flu vaccine, the Wellness Center is available during their walk-in hours or by scheduling an appointment.

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