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SHS offers free shots for flu season

With flu season beginning this month, USF will arm students’ immunities for free.

Interim Medical Director of Student Health Services Egilda Terenzi said a Free Flu Shot Clinic will be located in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) atrium today and Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., allowing students to get vaccinated for free without making an appointment with SHS.

Faculty and staff can receive the flu shot for $20.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, everyone “six months and older should get a yearly flu vaccination.” This year’s vaccination will protect against three influenza viruses “that research indicates will be the most common during the upcoming season” – H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses, as well as an influenza B virus.

Terenzi said SHS has offered the clinic every flu season since the MSC opened in 2008. SHS still provides free flu shots throughout the semester. However, she said not enough students take advantage of the service.

“We have a huge student body, and we’re only seeing a few hundred to thousand or so,” she said. “We need to see more.”

Director of Student Health Services Diane Zanto said in an email to The Oracle that USF “ordered 1,000 doses at about $10 per dose, so the Health fee paid about $10,000 for these doses.”

Alberto Van Olphen, assistant professor in the Department of Global Health, said good flu prevention techniques include covering the mouth with an elbow when coughing, washing hands, avoiding sick people and avoiding public areas when sick.

He said people may still get influenza-like symptoms after receiving the flu shot, but it would probably be a mild case.

“Some studies I have done in colleges and universities show that about 25 percent of students experience some of these influenza-like illness at least once during the flu season,” Van Olphen said. “If you look at the ways you can protect yourself from influenza, the first one is to take the flu shot, so take the time to take the flu shot.”