As the end of September and the beginning of flu season approaches, University of Wisconsin University Health Services is offering ample opportunities for students and employees to get vaccinated against influenza.

Between now and Oct. 27 there are 17 scheduled flu shot clinics students can attend, but appointments can also be made through the UHS website or the MyUHS app. The UHS website states that students are encouraged to bring an insurance card to their appointment, however, the shots are free of cost for all students regardless of insurance.

Flu shots administered through UHS are quadrivalent, meaning they are inactivated and do not contain a live virus. This means there is no risk of getting influenza from the vaccine.

The UHS website also states getting vaccinated annually helps limit the spread of influenza, which is even more important amidst a pandemic where COVID-19 and flu symptoms could be easily mistaken for each other. Similar to COVID-19, students and employees with health conditions including asthma, diabetes and immune disorders are at higher risk for complications of influenza, according to UHS.

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According to the CDC website, the ideal time to get vaccinated is between September and October. The website also says that as early as possible is preferable, since the antibodies take about two weeks to develop after the vaccine is received.

The CDC notes the flu vaccine can help prevent getting sick with the flu, and among those vaccinated who do get sick, vaccination has been shown to reduce the severity of illness. The importance of the flu shot is emphasized by the hundreds of thousands that are hospitalized, and the tens of thousands that die each year, according to the CDC.

The UHS website also says the flu cannot spread as fast among a highly vaccinated population. Last year over 18,000 UW students received flu shots.

The remaining flu shot clinics this week are:

Sept. 21 & 22 — Nicholas Recreation Center courts 1 & 2, Nielsen Tennis Stadium courts 1-4

8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

September 23 — Nicholas Recreation Center courts 1 & 2

8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Nielsen Tennis Stadium courts 1-4, 6 a.m. – 12 p.m.