The University of Alabama will provide free flu shots to students, faculty and staff beginning Sept. 8 and continuing through mid-November at pop-up locations across campus. Health insurance is not required.
This marks the 10th year of the flu shot campaign, which is led by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences with the goal to protect the University community from the flu by making flu shots easy and convenient.
Dr. Richard Friend, dean of CCHS and a family medicine physician, said while it is important to get a flu vaccine every year, it is even more important now as COVID-19 continues to have an impact on individuals and the health care system.
“People need to make sure they are protected against the flu, and a flu shot is the best way to do that,” Friend said. “When enough people are vaccinated, it is more difficult for the flu to spread, which means everyone is less likely to get the flu.”
Even those not able to get vaccinated, such as newborns, are offered some protection when a sufficient portion of the population is vaccinated because the disease has little chance to spread within the community, Friend said.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and serious consequences of flu infection can result in hospitalization and at times can even lead to death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During the flu shot campaign, nurses from University Medical Center, which CCHS operates, and from UA’s Student Health Center and Capstone College of Nursing administer vaccines at the UA Quad, campus buildings and other locations on campus. WellBAMA is also a flu shot campaign partner.
While the flu vaccines are free and no insurance is required, students and employees will need to provide their campuswide identification number, or CWID. Spouses of employees can also receive the free flu vaccine at campus flu shot sites or at UMC.
According to the CDC, a person can receive the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time and there is no need to wait a certain amount of time between receiving the two vaccines.
An annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk for serious complications from the flu, including children younger than 5 years but especially children younger than 2 years; adults 65 years of age and older; pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum; people with certain chronic health conditions; and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
In addition to the campus flu shot locations, vaccinations will also be provided to dependents of UA employees. Children of employees with UA health insurance can receive flu vaccinations at UMC, and children of employees with non-UA health insurance can receive flu shots at UMC if their insurance has previously approved nurse practitioner coverage.
The CDC estimates that 38 million people were sick with the flu during the 2019-2020 season, and there were 18 million visits to a health care provider for flu, 400,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 flu deaths.
A complete list of flu shot times and locations is available on the CCHS website.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.