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Clayton State to offer flu vaccine

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

While summer is winding down this month, Clayton State University is gearing up for the beginning of flu season, health officials at the Morrow-based school have announced.

The school announced on Wednesday that it's University Health Services staff will begin offering flu shots on Wednesday, Sept. 8, in the health services clinic, which is located in room 211 of Clayton State's Student Center, on the school's main campus in Morrow.

The vaccine will be available to members of the public, as well as the university's students, faculty and staff members, according to a statement from the university.

During a telephone interview, Clayton State University Health Services Director Dr. Julia Spinolo said approximately 300 doses of the vaccine, in the flu-shot format, will be available.

"It's been a long-standing thing with the community, to make sure people who do not have medical insurance have access to the vaccine, and to make sure they are protected from influenza," Spinolo said. "It's important to have the assurance, and security against anything that can lay you out of work for two weeks."

Spinolo added: "If you're a parent, with young children, it's important to make sure you're protected form the flu, so you don't pass it onto your kids."

In past years, separate vaccines have been needed for season flu, and the H1N1 influenza (Swine Flu) virus, but that will not be necessary this year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced this year's seasonal flu vaccine covers H1N1, as well as the influenza B virus, and H3N2 virus.

"Each year scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most likely to cause flu that year," CDC officials wrote in a vaccine brochure, which is available on Clayton State's University Health Services web site.

University Spokesman John Shiffert said that only the "inactivated," or killed, form of the vaccine, more commonly known as the "flu shot," will be offered. Spinolo said, however, that the nasal spray form of the vaccine could be ordered, if there is a demand for it.

Spinolo said that while the shot, and the spray, are both effective ways of receiving the vaccine, she only ordered the shot because she felt it was a better way to guarantee a person is protected from getting influenza.

"A little bit of pain goes a long way," Spinolo said. "Both are very effective, but the shot is the gold standard. There's nothing wrong with the nasal spray, but having the injection really ensures for immunity against influenza."

Clayton State's University Health Services has set prices for this year's flu vaccine at $15 to $20, depending on the person getting the shot. Student, faculty and staff mebers, as well as family members of Clayton State faculty and staff, will only have to pay $15 per shot, according to the health services web site. The web site shows that the general public will have to pay $20 per shot.

Members of the Clayton State community will have to show their "Laker ID" card to get the discounted price, and faculty and staff members will have to accompany their family members for the relatives to get the lower price as well.

The hours to get flu shots will be Mondays, from 10 a.m., to 6:15 p.m.; Tuesdays, through Thursdays, from 10 a.m., to 4:15 p.m., and Fridays, from 10 a.m., to 1 p.m.

Spinolo said a consent form, which people will have to be fill out before they can get the vaccine shot, is expected to be available on the University Health Services' web site by the end of the week.