Take your (flu) shot for the national championship

October is the optimum month to get a flu vaccination, and shots are available at the Student Stores Pharmacy, University Employee Occupational Health Clinic and clinics across campus.

Nurse giving Kevin Guskiewica a flu shot

’Tis the season to get a flu shot. Roll up your shirt sleeve and help Carolina retain its National College and University Flu Vaccination Championship.

More importantly, help keep our campus safe from influenza, a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, which can cause mild to severe illness.

“We know getting vaccinated helps to decrease the rate of transmission of flu. It helps individual patients not get flu, and even if you get the flu, you probably won’t be as sick as you would have been if you had not gotten vaccinated,” said Amy Sauls, director of pharmacy and professional services at Campus Health.

The optimum time to get a flu shot is in October, said Cathy Brennan, executive director, Environment, Health and Safety, because it allows your body to develop immunity before flu season begins in late November, early December.

“Because of masking, flu was nonexistent last year. People weren’t going out or socializing to stay safe from COVID-19,” she said.

This year, however, people are socializing and going to events. Hospitals are surging with COVID-19 patients. “We’re more likely to have twin epidemics with the flu and COVID-19 because restrictions have loosened from last year,” Brennan said.

Brennan said that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s not necessary to wait between getting a COVID-19 vaccination and a flu shot.

Getting a flu shot also helps Carolina defend its National College and University Flu Vaccination Championship for the fourth straight year. This year, the contest is based on number of flu vaccinations reported by the University to Alana’s Foundation, sponsor of the championship.

“Our Tar Heel community believes in vaccines,” Sauls added. “We care about each other, and we want to take care of each other and get vaccinated. It helps to keep students in class, vaccinated staff at work and just makes our community safer all around.”

And we want to keep the national championship trophy.

Where are flu shots available?

  • Student Stores Pharmacy offers no-appointment flu shots for students, faculty and staff during operating hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday). The Student Stores Pharmacy is located on the third floor of the UNC Student Stores building. Medicare plans are not accepted.
  • Campus Health Pharmacy, located in the basement of Campus Health, will offer walk-in flu shots for students from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
  • University Employee Occupational Health Clinic will offer flu vaccinations only for University health care personnel (including the School of Medicine) and other personnel who are part of the Immunization Review Program. Flu vaccinations will be available during walk-in hours from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

When are flu shot clinics on campus?

Several campus walk-up flu vaccination clinics will be offered at various indoor locations across campus with no advance registration required. The vaccine administered at all walk-in clinics is the GSK FluLaval Quadravalent Thimersol-free. Please bring both your UNC One Card and health insurance card. A mask is required in the clinics. All clinic times listed below are from noon-4 p.m.:

  • Thursday, Oct. 7: Giles Horney Building, Magnolia Room
  • Friday, Oct. 15: McColl Building, graduate student lounge
  • Friday, Oct. 22: Koury Oral Health Sciences Building, atrium lobby
  • Thursday, Oct. 28: Medical Biomolecular Research Building, main lobby
  • Friday, Oct. 29: Michael Hooker Research Center, lower level atrium

More information about flu prevention and vaccines is available at flu.unc.edu.