The University of Mary Washington will provide flu shots free of charge to the faculty and staff for the second year, but will now charge students $12.
Registered nurse and Associate Director of the health center, Susanne DeLeon, explained that the charge for students is solely in response to the cost of supplies. The health center charges students only what they get charged for the cost of the vaccine.
DeLeon also explained that the President’s office decided that like last year, they would reimburse the health center for every shot administered to a faculty or staff member, making the shot free of charge to all faculty and staff.
According to Dr. Paul Thomas Riley, the campus physician and health center director, the health center spent $9,246.56 on 800 shots last year. Of that 800, 691 shots were administered, 321 to students and 370 to faculty and staff. Last year, the President’s office reimbursed the health center with $3,710.00 for shots given to faculty and staff.
This year, Riley says the health center spent $6,876.00 for 600 shots. As of the last clinic on Oct. 30, 290 shots were administered to faculty and staff while only 150 students, less than four percent of the student population, received flu shots.
Despite ordering fewer shots than last year, Riley guarantees there will be no shortage of flu shots this year.
“We ordered fewer this year so we would not waste any,” Riley said. “If the demand is higher than expected then we can order more with delivery in a day or two. We have 160 doses left with one clinic to go.”
Sophomore Samantha West received her flu shot on Oct. 18 at the first available clinic and charged the shot to her student account. She said she was at the clinic for roughly five minutes and described her experience as a positive one.
“I signed forms that said I was aware of the side effects and what the shot does and signed the student account form,” West said. “Then I got the shot, and I was done.”
The flu shots are available on campus at five separate clinics, three of which are available to students, and four of which are available to faculty and staff.
Riley says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated one influenza A (H1N1) strain of the virus as compared to 2006-2007, but the remaining strains, one influenza A (H3N2) and one influenza B, remain the same.
As of Oct. 20, Riley says there was very little flu activity throughout the country, but he is unaware of any projections on how severe this year’s flu season will be.
Flu shots at UMW are considerably cheaper than at Christopher Newport University. All students, faculty and staff are charged $20 for the flu shot and are required to make an appointment.
In addition, the flu clinics at UMW are more time efficient than an approximately 50-minute-long appointment at CNU. The supply at CNU is also limited, and shots will only be administered until their supply runs out.
Flu shots at Longwood University, where the first 500 shots are administered free of charge, may seem cheaper than at UMW. However, after the first 500 shots, the cost of the shot is $15 for students, $3 more than shots at UMW.
The remaining clinic for flu shots at UMW is on Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Great Hall. This clinic is open to all students, who can charge the shot to their EagleOne or student account, and all faculty and staff.