Discounted flu shots available to students

Over the past two weeks, Student Health Services has administered hundreds of flu shots to USF students, faculty and staff.

Since students support the operation of SHS through embedded health fees in their tuition, they have been paying just $10. Faculty and staff members are being charged $20 for the vaccination.

SHS initially had a total of 500 immunizations. As of Thursday, that supply had dropped to less than 100.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, the College of Public Heath and the Hillsborough County Health Department will be giving out free flu immunizations to the general public.The shots will be given at the College of Public Health on the corner of Fletcher Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

According to Ellen Kent, faculty coordinator of the Health Sciences Center Service Corps, people 18 and up are eligible.

HCHD is providing the shots, which will be administered by nurses from the health department and specially trained students from the College of Nursing and the College of Medicine.

“A committee of staff, students and faculty have planned the flu shot drive, which has been spearheaded by Karen Liller, professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs at the (College of Public Health),” Kent said.

But even with the free clinic and the remaining vaccinations at the health center, USF does not have enough doses of the vaccine to inoculate the entire student body.

“We don’t buy enough for the entire student body and faculty,” said Egilda Terenzi, director of SHS. “That would be not only a great expense, but many people get them elsewhere or choose not to get them.”

Terenzi said the vaccination is readily available at walk-in clinics, doctor’s offices and at specially designated supermarkets and drugstores. She recommended students take advantage of the vaccination before getting sick.

“It is the one preventive intervention that can be utilized to not get sick this season with the flu,” Terenzi said. “It’s a longer illness than people realize, with one week being sick and one week of recovery. Two weeks in a semester is a long time.”

Because the potential for outbreak is high for students living in close quarters with other students, Kent said it is especially important for students who live in dorms to receive the vaccine.

Kent said that students interested in getting vaccinated should visit the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has information on the vaccine: