With flu season looming, the University of Minnesota’sBoynton Health is setting up flu clinics across campus.
The clinics, in 15 different locations on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses, will provide vaccinations for the University community until the first week of December. Experts say the shot is key, not only to keep recipients healthy, but also to protect more susceptible individuals from the illness.
“It’s great not to get influenza. You also help keep other people healthy, particularly other people that are vulnerable. It’s not just protective for you, it helps protect other people. And so that’s why we do it: for the herd, so to speak,” said Dave Golden, Director of Public Health and Communications at Boynton Health.
Signups are available on Boynton’s website. Plus, all clinics welcome walk-ins, and wait times for those without appointments usually don’t exceed 10 minutes, said Lesley Gray, the public health nursing supervisor at Boynton Health.
The immunizations — paid for by student services fees and funds from the staff and faculty employee benefit fund — are free to students, faculty, staff, retired employees and their dependents, Golden said.
About 60 percent of students on campus have had their flu shot in the last 12 months, Golden said. While some worry about a preservative called thimerosal, those receiving the shot at a University clinic shouldn’t be concerned, he said.
Thimerosal hasn't been shown to cause any negative health effects other than minor reactions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There’s none of that in our immunizations. These are all pre-loaded syringes that don’t get opened until we actually are going to give the injection,” he said.
Some members of the University community say they rely on Boynton flu shot clinics for their convenience.
“It’s convenient and it’s quick,” said Karen Carmody-McIntosh, a University library communications associate. “I feel like if there’s a way that I can keep myself healthy and help keep other people who are vulnerable healthy, I’m all for that.”
Boynton will be having a pop-up flu vaccine clinic for the first time at Northrop Plaza on Thursday.
“We try to bring the clinics to people as much as possible,” said Golden. It’s really quick and you even get a Tootsie Pop at the end.”