Beginning next week, UConn Health will make flu shots available to all faculty, staff and students at no cost, according to Health News and Information Officer Chris DeFrancesco.
DeFrancesco said that UConn Health has ordered more than 20,000 doses of the vaccination already. The shots will be available as long as supplies last and will be available for free for those associated with the University of Connecticut.
“Essentially, everyone with a badge will be expected to get a flu shot this fall,” DeFrancesco said in an email.
While the flu shot is offered at no cost every year, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic changes the protocol on how UConn Health is allowed to distribute the vaccinations.
“In recognition of the flu shot’s effectiveness in reducing the spread of influenza, UConn Health makes no-cost flu shots available to faculty, staff, students, contractors and volunteers every year,” DeFrancesco said. “The only difference this year is we have to take extra precautions for how we administer the vaccine because of the pandemic. In past years we’ve been able to hold walk-in flu shot clinics.”
DeFrancesco noted that while there is a push each year to get vaccinated for influenza, this year the vaccination takes on added importance as researchers aren’t sure how the coronavirus pandemic will impact flu season.
“Researchers have little evidence about how COVID-19 might affect the course of the flu season, however the CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and COVID-19 will both be spreading,” Jennifer Walker, UConn Health deputy spokesperson wrote in a UConn Today article. “…Even though getting a flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, it can still reduce your risk of becoming seriously ill from flu and even dying from it.”
Finally, DeFrancesco emphasized the importance of practicing good hygiene and getting vaccinated each year.
“Getting the influenza vaccine, practicing safe hygiene like frequent handwashing and staying home when sick are our best preventive measures against the spread of influenza,” DeFrancesco said. “While this is especially important in a health care setting such as ours, it also helps protect our families, our coworkers and ourselves so we can be there for our patients.”