University Health Services (UHS) is offering an additional flu shot clinic on Monday, Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Nicholas Recreation Center (The Nick) by appointment or drop in.
Flu shots are free for all UW-Madison students, and are administered by VaxPro, a company founded by UW-Madison alumnus. So far, 16,000 students have received their flu immunization.
Upon entry into the flu shot facility, each patient's temperature is taken to screen for COVID-19 symptoms and all patients are required to wear a face covering.
In previous years, UW-Madison students could receive flu immunizations throughout the year at the UHS 333 East Campus Mall location on campus. This year, flu shots were administered beginning Sept. 8 at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium, The Nick, the Kohl Center and Henry Mall, with the final clinic for flu shots being held on Monday.
Some students on campus, such as UW-Madison sophomore Ashley Haggard, voiced concerns over the availability and accessibility of flu shots.
Haggard got her flu shot from the Nielsen Tennis Stadium clinic, at a time when she said all of the appointments available were located at that facility. She acknowledged that she was fortunate enough to have a car on campus because without it, “it was like the shot was not available to you” for the Tennis stadium is on the far opposite side of campus from her residence and many others.
“They did have the shot at locations by the southeast dorms, but only for a little while, and if you were stuck in quarantine, it would not have been possible to get one at those locations,” Haggard said. “It is not fair that they are making access to the flu shot so limited especially in the middle of the pandemic.”
While flu shots are free for all students, the clinic also asked students to bring an insurance card if they have insurance, which was out of rhythm with past years where insurance was not asked for.
“In my opinion, it seemed like flu shots were not readily available to the student body,” Haggard said.
UHS also encourages students to take other measures to protect themselves during this cold and flu season. To prevent the spread of infection, students should frequently wash their hands; avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth; avoid sharing cups or utensils with others and stay home when they are sick. According to UHS, there are no known cases of the flu on campus so far in the Fall 2020 semester.
To schedule a flu shot appointment, students can visit the UHS and VaxPro website.