Ongoing flu clinics organized by the Vaden Health Center are administering flu shots free of charge to Stanford students and their spouses or domestic partners, faculty, staff and retirees. The seven clinics so far this year have also offered flu shots to spouses or domestic partners of staff and faculty members for $25.
With the flu season fast approaching, Vaden gives out the shots as an attempt to reduce the incidence of respiratory diseases for the individual students and the Stanford community. This year’s vaccine includes the immunization for H3N2, H1N1 and Influenza B. The shots are administered in temporary clinics set up by Vaden in Wilbur Dining Hall, Lakeside Dining Hall and Graduate Community Center, as well as at Vaden.
The collaboration among Vaden, Stanford University Occupational Health Center, School of Medicine physician faculty and medical school student volunteers made the clinics possible by hosting the clinics and administering the shots. Stanford Benefits, BeWell @ Stanford and the Health Improvement Program (HIP) contributed in publicizing the free shots to students.
This year, on average, about 300 shots have been administered at each of the clinics, compared to last year’s total of 2,100 shots, when the limited supply of flu vaccines meant that only high-risk individuals could receive the shot.
However, according to Clinic Manager Nancy Masunaga, who spoke on behalf of Vaden Health Center director Ira Friedmanmore vaccines are available this year compared to last year. Masunaga said Vaden’s goal is to double the number of shots given last year.
“We should see a larger number of people immunized,” Masunaga said.
These clinics are funded by two different sources. The Provost’s Office covered the cost of the shots administered to students and their spouses or domestic partners, while Stanford University Human Resources paid for the flu shots given to staff and faculty.
Though Masunaga did not give the exact cost to run the clinics, she said the amount varies each year depending on the number of staff present at each clinic. Volunteer medical students donating their time also mitigate the costs, Masunaga said.
The frequency of the flu clinics makes it easy for many students, such as Zenas Lee ’11, to drop by for a vaccination.
Lee called the process “quick and easy.”
“I just happened to be at Vaden for another reason and saw that they were giving out free flu shots, so I just got mine right away,” Lee said. “It took maybe about one minute to fill out the form and then one minute to get the shot.”
Lee also got vaccinated in order to lessen the chance of an epidemic. “I know that there’s a critical vaccination threshold to prevent the seasonal flu from being an epidemic,” Lee said. “I try to do it every year…It was great that it was free this year.”
Aside from getting the flu shots, Nancy Masunaga recommended that students cover their coughs and wash their hands often to prevent the spread of germs and viruses that cause respiratory diseases. “If you have flu symptoms, call the Medical Advice Nurse as soon as possible to see if there are medications that could be helpful to you,” Masunaga said.
Sixteen more flu vaccine clinics will occur between Wednesday and Dec. 13 at various locations and times, according to the University’s flu information website, flu.stanford.edu.