UI Student Health Services focuses on healthy campus with flu vaccine


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The University of Iowa Student Health Service began accepting walk-ins for influenza vaccinations Monday, and officials said that throughout the coming month, they will pursue a campaign to increase the number of flu shot recipients.

In the last academic year, Student Health administered approximately 3,100 influenza shots. This was an increase of about 400 students over the previous year.

"Our marketing approach this year is trying to promote health on campus," said Lisa James, Student Health's associate director for clinical operations. "Getting the flu vaccine is a good way to stay healthy, so you can attend your classes and not spread your illnesses to others."

James said Student Health partnered with IMU marketing to help promote the flu shot by advertising throughout campus.

And while officials promoted the vaccination with an iPad incentive last year, they will not offer the incentive this year partly because of the uncertainty of its effectiveness.

"One of the students who won it didn't seem super aware of it, but the other [winner] was," James said. "[We're not doing the incentive this year] I guess for budget reasons and not being sure that it was truly an incentive."

Also beginning this fall, the price for the vaccination will increase.

"In the past, we have never charged an administration fee that comes with giving a shot," James said. "Most doctor offices will charge an administration fee; we've always charged just our cost for the flu vaccine. And this year since most [students] have insurance that should cover the flu vaccine, our new director wanted to add in that administration fee."

Because most students have insurance up until they are 26 years-old, most insurance covers the additional charge.

"Our other vaccine charges have both of these charges rolled up," James wrote via email. "… keeping that charge so low does not make good business sense."

UI freshman Kyle Stead said he plans on getting the shot just to be safe.

"I didn't even know there was a price because my parents have always handled that," he said. "I plan on getting it in the future just to be on the safe side because, who knows when the flu can hit?"

Students can come in at any time during the Student Health business hours to receive the vaccination.

"One of the great conveniences for students is they can walk in anytime we're open to get a flu vaccine," James said. "We always have walk-in capacity."

She stressed the importance of getting the vaccination.

"After you get a vaccination, it takes 10 to 14 days for you to achieve the full immunity from the vaccine," she said. "It's good to get it before people start traveling. The sooner the better."

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