Flu shot clinic is Oct. 9-20

ISU WellBeing and occupational medicine will offer a free flu shot clinic next month for two weeks, Oct. 9-20 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.), at the fitness studio (Room 1218) in State Gymnasium. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu shots for those 6 months and older.

Protect yourself and others

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

No appointment or registration is needed, and participants will check in electronically when they arrive. More than 2,700 shots were given during last year's clinic, said Ames Laboratory senior nurse Kori Grooms.

The vaccine is available for these employee groups:

  • Faculty, professional and scientific, merit and postdocs
  • University child care centers
  • Retirees on the university health plan who are not yet 65
  • ISU Foundation
  • Iowa State Daily 

These employees are encouraged to use the clinic to receive the shot because it is most cost effective with the ISU medical plan. Those who choose to receive the vaccine at a pharmacy or health care provider's office may have a copay apply.

"We really encourage employees to use this clinic because it is free and it is efficient," said ISU WellBeing coordinator Stephanie Downs. "We are able to vaccinate nearly 50% of our employee base through the clinic and 75% overall."

Employees' spouses and children are not eligible for the clinic, but family members covered by ISU health insurance can receive a flu shot from their medical provider or a retail pharmacy. Visiting scholars and ISU students should contact the Thielen Student Health Center, 294-5801, for vaccination information.

Employees are encouraged to walk to the clinic at State Gym and enter through the southwest corner of the building. This year’s location is closer to the accessible entrance and two nurses will be administering the shots. Parking will be available in the general staff lot (Lot 1) south of the building that runs parallel to Sheldon Avenue. A limited number of free reserved spaces will be available close to the building. CyRide also stops next to State Gym on Union Drive.

"We have a pretty efficient process and it only takes a few minutes per person," Grooms said.

If possible, employees are asked to wear a short-sleeve or loose-fitting shirt to give the nurse easier access to an upper arm. Members of ISU WellBeing's Adventure2 wellness program will receive points for getting a flu shot.

A COVID-19 vaccine or booster is not available at this clinic. Those wanting one should contact their primary health care provider.

The vaccine

Employees who get a shot will receive a four-component vaccine that protects against A and B flu virus strains. The vaccine contains the four viruses recommended this season by the CDC:

  • A/Victoria/4897/2022 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Darwin/9/2021 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage)

Alternative forms of the vaccine for the 2023-24 flu season are not available at the clinic. Those who prefer a spray or mist vaccine or a high-dose vaccine should check with their primary doctor.

It takes about two weeks for antibodies that protect against the flu to fully develop. It's not possible to get the flu by receiving a flu shot because it is not a live virus, Downs said.

"The vaccine contains four strains of the virus and there are a lot of strains out there," Grooms said. “You may get the flu, but research shows that your symptoms are milder if you have gotten the vaccine.”

Availability of the flu vaccine after the clinic is dependent on supplies. Getting a dose will be by appointment only while supplies last. More information about the flu clinic is on the ISU WellBeing website or by calling the university human resources service center at 294-4800. Information on the 2023 flu vaccine is available through the CDC.