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Wilce Student Health Center offers new flu vaccine

Joe Podelco / The Lantern

With flu season approaching, the Wilce Student Health Center began offering a new vaccine against three common viruses Monday morning. The center is also providing additional time slots for vaccination.

“The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses (H3N2 virus, influenza B and the 2009 H1N1) that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season,” said Jennifer House, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Health, in an e-mail.

The World Health Organization recommended this type of seasonal vaccine Feb. 22 with approval from the Food and Drug Administration, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

“The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year,” House said. “This year’s flu vaccine is made the same way as flu vaccines from previous years.”

Dr. Roger Miller, a preventive medicine physician at the Student Health Center, said he more students to get the vaccine this year because of last year’s flu, pressure from students’ employers and parents and the public health recommendations.

Miller said the center is offering more clinics to receive a vaccination. Student Health Services provided about 20 to 30 doses per morning last year, compared with nearly 50 doses Monday.

“In the past, they used to put a lot more focus on high-risk health problems and people who desperately needed it,” Miller said. “But generally, we are just putting it out there to the whole student population.”

Afternoon flu clinics are scheduled for September through December from 3 to 5:30 p.m., and morning clinics are 8 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

On a campus that is often crowded, some students say it is a good idea to get vaccinated.

“I would like to think the increase is for the good of the students,” said Mike Marino, a second-year graduate student in nursing. “There’s so many of us here, so I think it’s a good idea.”

Marino, like others, is required to receive the vaccination as an employee of the OSU Medical Center.

“I think the fact they are having them is a good thing and that it is readily available for people who want it. But personally, in my life, it’s not an issue. I don’t plan on getting it,” said Jenna Kossoff, a third-year in marketing and Spanish.

According to the Student Health Services website, students under the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan are covered in full for flu shot clinics and are 50 percent covered for office visits.

Students insured by outside providers are required to pay a $25 fee during clinic hours and $34 for an individual visit at the time of service. The cost is also excluded for students under the WilceCare Supplement, dependents insured under the comprehensive plan and comprehensive plan students getting the shot in any other facility.

“We try to keep our costs low,” Miller said. “We think $25 is competitive and we are trying to stay economical for students.”

All registered students are eligible to receive the vaccine and are required to complete a patient questionnaire, service sheet and notice of privacy practices acknowledgement before the vaccination. The documents can be found at shc.osu.edu/flu/flu-shot-clinics1/.

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