University still offering influenza shots

Students encouraged to receive their seasonal vaccination.

AUDREY HUDDLESTON, Evergreen reporter

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Despite the end of Flu Shot Fridays, hosted by Health & Wellness Services in the fall, flu shots are still available and highly recommended.

According to the Health & Wellness website, flu shots are covered in full by most insurance plans.

Leyen Vu, interim medical director at Health & Wellness, said it’s not too late to get a flu shot. He said the flu is still active in Washington and considered widespread in the majority of other states.

Vu said that besides getting a vaccination, good hygiene practices can protect against the flu. He said it is important that people cover their mouth when they cough, wash their hands and stay home from school or work when they show flu-like symptoms.

Nurse Manager Jenni Dalton said they will offer  the flu shot until June 30th, since this is when their current batch of vaccines expires.

The flu vaccination is often available again by August, but it can vary slightly from year to year, Dalton said. She said larger pharmacies commonly receive their vaccination batch earlier than smaller clinics, such as Health & Wellness Services. She said this is because they need a larger volume of vaccinations for the larger client base.

According to the Health & Wellness website, they offer intradermal and intramuscular flu shots. Intradermal vaccines are injected into the skin, while intramuscular vaccines are inserted into the muscle, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The needle used for intradermal vaccines is smaller than the needle used for intramuscular shots.

The CDC website describes intradermal needles as 90 percent smaller than the intramuscular needles. Intradermal flu vaccinations have been approved for people ages 18-64.

Antigens are the component of the vaccine that enables the body to build up immunity against the flu, according to the CDC website. They are present in both vaccine types, but the intradermal shot needs less to make it effective.

According to their website, the only situation where a person cannot receive a flu shot from Health & Wellness is if they are under 18 or pregnant.

Dalton said appointments can be made online or over the phone at 509-335-3575.