Flu shot returns to UI Student Health

UI Student Health will offer the flu shot to students and faculty members at two full-time locations this fall, in addition to Catlett Residence Hall and the Main Library, on select dates.


Paxton Corey

Photo Illustration by Paxton Corey

Grace Culbertson, News Reporter

In order to keep the flu from spreading too widely this fall, the quadrivalent flu vaccine will be administered on campus to fight the illness on four fronts.

The vaccination will be available as long as supplies last at the IMU Nurse Care clinic and University of Iowa Student Health. Nurses will also administer vaccinations at Catlett Residence Hall on Oct. 8 and at the Main Library on Oct. 22 in the evening.

With bacteria crawling all over iPhones, desks, and door handles, college students are the most likely to contract the flu, according to a 2017 survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Only between 8 percent and 39 percent of college students receive the flu vaccination, and college students spend about a week recovering from the flu on average, the survey showed.

UI sophomore and pre-pharmacy major Lucy Sundrup said she does not enjoy receiving shots; however, she said the flu shot is more effective than the mist, an alternative vaccination. Sundrup said she received her flu shot last fall at what was then the combined Student Health and Wellness. 

“It was really easy to make the appointment, and then you just go and get your shot,” Sundrup said. “I feel like for a lot of people should [get the flu shot] since you live with roommates and stuff you should prevent getting sick.” 

RELATED: UI, Iowa State researchers work to create universal flu vaccine

UI Student Health nurse manager Constance Wagner said she thinks people who believe the flu shot can give them the illness itself need to reconsider. The antibodies in the flu shot take two weeks to build, she said. If students contract the flu after receiving a flu shot, she said, chances are they were exposed to the bacteria before vaccination.

“The flu shot is made of dead viruses, so it cannot give you the flu,” Wagner said. “It can trigger your immune response, so it might give you minor symptoms, but it cannot give you the flu.” 

Wagner suggested that students who are scared of needles receive the flu mist. While there is a limited general supply of flu mist, she said, Student Health can give students a dosage if they request one.

UI junior Mickey Devine said he was sick for four days during his freshman year with the flu and has never received the flu shot. However, he said he believes the more people that receive the flu shot the better, because this can result in herd immunity — in other words, people who can’t get the shot are less likely to succumb to the illness if they’re around people who can.

“I’ve never actually gotten [the shot],” Devine said. “I just haven’t taken the time.”

RELATED: 2018 flu season expected to be mild compared to previous years

Student Health charges $57 per flu vaccination unless insurance is provided. Several forms of insurance cover the flu vaccine, but Wagner recommended that students call the number on the back of their insurance card to check.

In 2018, Student Health administered 3,500 doses of the vaccination. Wagner said Student Health hopes to increase that number this year.

Wagner added that students should take necessary precautions to stay healthy this fall. Students who have asthma or allergies should check to make sure their EpiPens and inhalers are not expired, she said. Wagner advised students to drink plenty of water, and to avoid caffeine and alcohol or attending class with a fever.