Free seasonal flu shots for students, employees

Student Nichola Villanueva recieves a flu shot

October is not too early to get a flu shot, experts say.— Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

It’s barely fall, but it’s not too early to get a flu shot.

“Right now is the perfect time,” said Katherine Lee-Mosio, pharmacy manager of University Village Pharmacy at UI Health. Although the flu season typically peaks between December and February, influenza can start appearing in late October, she said.

Getting a flu shot on campus is easy.

Employees and retirees enrolled in a state-sponsored managed care plan or the Quality Care Health Plan are eligible for a free flu shot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 21 in 329 Student Center East or Oct. 28 in the Thompson Rooms, Student Center West. All participants must bring their insurance card; employees need their i-card and retirees must show an ID.

UIC students enrolled in CampusCare can get a free flu shot at the Taylor Street Pharmacy, 1855 W. Taylor St., and University Village Pharmacy, 722 W. Maxwell St. Students not enrolled in CampusCare can also get a flu shot at those locations, but out-of-pocket costs are $28.93. Bring your health insurance card to find out if the shot is covered. Appointments aren’t necessary.

Students with CampusCare can also get a free flu shot at the Family Medicine Center, 722 W. Maxwell St. Appointments are required; call 312-996-2901.

It’s especially important for students to get a flu shot, said Lee-Mosio. “It’s to promote herd-immunity,” she said. “The more people that are vaccinated, the less likely influenza will spread.”

The flu shot is reformulated every year based on the primary viruses that circulated the previous year. Flu shots given in campus pharmacies this year are quadrivalent vaccines, which hold four inactive virus strains. “It’s one more layer of protection,” said Lee-Mosio, compared to the three-strain trivalent shot.

“I encourage as many students as possible to get their flu shot this year,” she said. “We’re here and available to give it to you. Just walk in.”

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