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Sunday, March 03, 2024
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Omicron COVID-19 booster, flu shots available for UW students and staff

Starting yesterday, both the flu shot and the recent FDA-approved Pfizer COVID-19 boosters are available for faculty, staff and students of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The updated COVID-19 boosters provide immunization and protection against a variety of COVID-19 strains. All employees and students may receive the booster as long as they received their latest booster or the secondary dose of their primary vaccination series at least two months prior

The university is partnering with VaxPro to administer the vaccinations to both employees and students. Students with SHIP insurance must schedule and receive their updated boosters through UHS.

Flu shots are also available for students at no-cost without proof of insurance. Students and staff who receive the COVID-19 booster may receive the flu shot at the same time. Each must be scheduled individually through VaxPro.

Public health officials recommend receiving both the flu shot and the recent COVID-19 booster. Those who receive both vaccinations at the same time may feel more side effects: including fatigue, tenderness at the injection site, headaches and possible fever.

“Combining vaccines is not unusual and it is safe to receive the COVID vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time,” Dr. Chad Wagner, Associate Medical Director for UHS, explained. “Symptoms [from vaccination] are a result of your body’s immune system starting up in response to a vaccine and getting prepared to protect them from a future infection.”

Wagner recommended that students recovering from previous infections of COVID-19 also receive their boosters. 

“It is encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you tested positive for COVID-19 previously to be as protected as possible and continue to protect others,” Wagner said. “It is recommended to wait around three months before getting your COVID booster after your previous infection has ended but may be sooner if you have a compromised immune system.”

Wagner also highlighted tactics students, faculty and staff can do to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and the flu.

“Following basic hygiene practices and public health guidance — such as washing your hands after you use the bathroom, and before and after eating and staying home if you feel ill — helps to minimize the spread of viruses and help everyone stay healthy,” Wagner explained.

UW-Madison continues to monitor COVID-19 on campus and in the community, working with both Dane County and Wisconsin public health officials. Public officials continue to recommend that everyone vaccinate against COVID-19, including the most recent booster shots.

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