Free flu shots available at Health Center

The Student Health Center is giving free flu shots to students starting Monday. The flu shots will be available until the center runs out.

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before the shots run out completely. The shots are available for free because they are paid for by student fees. Students can come in any time during office hours, fill out a form and get the shot. The entire process only takes a few minutes.

“In an area like this where you are really close to a lot of people, it can really spread fast,” said Brenda Dussol, a nurse who has worked at the center for eight years. “If people have impaired immune systems or asthma, it can be really serious.”

Dussol also said it is important to get a flu shot because students who get the flu could be out of school from a week to 10 days.

The flu vaccines come in two forms, a shot form and a nasal mist. The Health Center is administering the shot, given in the upper arm.

The flu comes in different types and, according to Kraig Chugg, an associate professor of health sciences, the types of flu doctors are concerned about are Influenza A and Influenza B. The flu vaccine usually has three strands of the virus within it, two strands of Influenza A and one of Influenza B.

The vaccine must be made six months in advance.

“The problem is science has to guess what three types are we really worried about this season,” Chugg said. “Sometimes, they guess really well, and the majority of the time they do.”

Chugg said that about 67 percent of the time, scientists guess the strands correctly. Even when the vaccine is for the wrong strand of flu, Chugg said, the vaccine can sometimes still protect from that kind of flu as well, but it isn’t guaranteed.

Because of this, Thomas Hull, a supply chain major, said he isn’t getting the flu vaccine this year.

“I don’t think they are that effective,” he said.

Hull said he has gotten the vaccine in the past and had the flu anyway.

“What if the person got the vaccine after they had already been exposed to the flu?” Chugg said. “It takes about two weeks to become symptomatic. So they got the flu vaccine, but they already had the flu.”

He also said other illnesses have similar symptoms to the flu. Someone might think they have the flu when in fact they have a cold.

Chugg said the vaccines are mostly to protect the very old and very young, because they are most likely to die from the flu or a disease contracted from getting the flu, such as viral pneumonia.

He said the vaccine also helps with costs. In the United States, there can be 3,000-50,000 deaths from the flu in one year. That leads to about 200,000 hospital days and in turn costs about $80 billion.

The vaccines are available at the Ogden campus and the Davis campus.