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CSU kicks off flu shot season early

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

In one month's time, University Health Services (UHS) at Clayton State University will make its big push to administer flu shots to the public.

However, with this year's flu strain expected to be stronger than in years past, UHS is getting ahead of the curve.

Starting this week, UHS, located in room 211 of the University's Student Center, will offer flu shots to the general public. Dr. Julia Spinolo, director of UHS, said being able to offer the vaccine at the college may be valuable to the community, as many pharmacies no longer administer flu shots without a prescription.

"We have people who are concerned about pharmacies and pharmacists not being able to dispense the flu shot," said Spinolo. "They are limiting the availability because they have to get a prescription now if they want to get it at the pharmacy.

"We want to make sure the community knows that this is available," said Spinolo.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year's strain of flu is similar to the strain of the 2004-2005 flu season, which saw higher than normal rates of influenza-related outpatient visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Spinolo said it is important for the young and the elderly to have their vaccinations, as they will be more susceptible to the virus.

"As we get older, our immune systems will decrease, so it makes you more susceptible to sicknesses and bugs," said Spinolo. "It is very important for the elderly to get the flu shot because it can be much harder for them." Spinolo added that children as young as six months old are recommended to have the vaccine.

Aliah Brown, a junior pre-nursing major at Clayton State University, regretted not getting the flu shot two seasons ago.

"When I didn't get one the first year I was here, I caught a bad case of the flu," said Brown. "I didn't believe that what they could give you, could actually prevent the flu. My roommate across the way got sick, so I got sick.

"I think everyone should get it so you're not miserable," said Brown.

Flu shots are available between 2 and 4 p.m., during regular business hours. The cost is $15 for students, $17 for Clayton State faculty, and $23 for the general public. For more information, call (678) 466-4900.