Flu shots convenient for students


Photo by Carson Hager | The Appalachian

Chamian Cruz

To combat the peak of flu season – December through February – Health Services at Appalachian State University is offering the flu shot for only $11.

Flu symptoms include high fever or feeling feverish, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, extreme tiredness, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, according to Health Services.

There are many types of the flu virus, but annual vaccination can help prevent the current three to four types of the influenza virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“Get the flu shot now, before flu season,” said Jill Venable, a Health Services nurse. “It takes at least two weeks to get as much immunity as it’s going to give you. So my advice would be to get it now.”

Since immunization takes time, it is possible to get infected with the flu after vaccination and side effects may include a day or two of flu-like symptoms, Venable said.

“The vaccine is probably 78 percent effective and it can lessen the amount of time you get sick if you do get the flu,” Venable said.

The Health Service Immunization Clinic is open Monday through Friday 8-11:30 a.m., with the exception of Wednesdays from 9-11:30 a.m., and 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Although most insurance companies cover the cost of the vaccine, Appalachian’s Health Services has made the choice to not file insurance, but are willing to help students file if they choose to do so.

“Because we made that choice our prices are overall cheaper, making it better for those who are financially strapped, but we also give you a receipt that you can put with a claim form that you complete yourself or give to mom or dad to complete, send it in and hopefully you can get your money back,” Venable said.

In addition, Health Services sees between 300-325 patients with flu and flu-like illnesses throughout the year and has many cross-trained nurses available to give the flu shot, but will typically staff two nurses to do so.

“The process was really fast, I didn’t have to wait at all,” said Lindsey King, freshman music education major. “They were actually ready for me before I even finished the paperwork, which wasn’t much and didn’t take long. It wasn’t painful either, and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like needles.”

With flu season only a few weeks away, many other local businesses and pharmacies are also doing their best to offer the vaccine in an easy and convenient manner, but prices may vary depending on whether you have insurance and the insurance provider.

Both Walgreens and CVS offer the vaccine at $31.99 without insurance and attend to patients on a walk-in basis so that wait time is similar to waiting for a prescription, said Lindsey Klee, senior certified pharmacy technician at Walgreens, and Dustin Roe, pharmacy technician at CVS.

Boone Drug and Health Care at Deerfield is available to give the shot Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and charges $29.99, Mary Miller, health care administration assistant, said.

Christie Kirk, clinic administrative at Boone Drug and Health Care at Deerfield, also said they offer the vaccine to people both in and out of the clinic, adding up to about 80-100 people per day.

FastMed Urgent Care and Watauga County Health Department also offer the vaccine without an appointment, although wait time may vary depending on number of patients. FastMed Urgent Care gives the vaccine at $20 while the Watauga County Health Department charges $36.

To avoid getting infected with the flu, Venable advises that people keep a thermometer, wash their hands, sneeze into shirts or sleeves, keep hands off the face, sleep eight hours a night, keep a clean living area, drink plenty of fluids, eat a balanced diet, exercise to raise the heart rate three days a week for at least 30 minutes and to stay home to avoid infecting others.

Story: Chamian Cruz, Intern News Reporter