By LUBNA AKHTAR
This semester, the University of Mary Washington’s Health Center is partnering with Giant Pharmacy to provide flu shots to its community. Shots will cost $18 for students without health insurance and students with health insurance will be provided the shot for free.
Due to budget cuts at UMW, the Health Center is unable to provide free flu shots to students, faculty and staff as it has in the previous years.
For returning Mary Washington students and faculty, this is a change. Flu shots used to be offered on campus walk, free of charge. According to Dr. Tom Riley, from the Health Center, this was an effective way to encourage students to get a flu shot.
This announcement was met with some backlash from students.
“I am certainly not pleased with the news since I feel that with the price of tuition, the school could certainly afford to continue the service,” said Scott Munn, junior English major.
Riley shared that the school’s budget has steadily been declining since 2007, with the school becoming, “more frugal and buying better.”
Students recognize the impact of budget cuts that have been taking place.
“I think every year the school tends to take away something that is important to the students due to the budget cuts,” said Eugene Darfour, senior biology major.
Despite budget cuts schoolwide, Riley shared that the Health Center has managed to maintain services such as STI testing, in house pharmacy for generic prescriptions and the online health magazine, “Student Health 101.”
Riley shared how he felt, saying that this change is not entirely a negative one, since students will still have access to flu shots on campus through the new partnership with Giant. If this partnership had not been formed, there would have been no flu shots at all this year at UMW.
He added that partnering with Giant Pharmacy has also allowed students to have access to a variety of vaccines. For example, on move in day, students were able to get caught up on their immunization right on campus, thanks to this partnership.
“As a biology major, the wellbeing and health is extremely important to me and other students here,” said Darfour. “I have heard many students and friends already complain about the flu shot no longer being free and the hassle that that causes.”
Based off of information Riley provided, about 96 to 98 percent of the students at UMW have health insurance, which means that they will not have to worry about paying out of pocket for the fee associated with the shot.