Free flu shots for Stanford faculty, staff, postdocs and students begin Oct. 1

Throughout October and November, Stanford offers free flu vaccinations to faculty, staff, retirees, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students, who are being encouraged this year to “Be a flu fighter.”

Stanford faculty, staff, retirees, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students can receive free flu shots thanks to Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC) and Vaden Health Center starting Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Man receiving injection

“Be a flu fighter” and get your free vaccination during October and November. (Image credit: Getty Images)

The flu clinics have been scheduled for the main campus, Stanford Redwood City and Hopkins Marine Station during the workday to make access easier, according to Nancy Stoll, Vaden Health Center clinic manager.

Those seeking the vaccine should be prepared to present a university identification. Faculty and staff who cannot attend the scheduled flu clinics may also call the SUOHC to make an appointment to receive the flu vaccine. Spouses and domestic partners of graduate or undergraduate students are also eligible to receive the vaccine for free. No vaccinations can be provided to children.

“Getting a vaccine during the workday helps many in our community with busy commutes and full home lives,” Stoll said. “This is why Stanford invests hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide flu vaccines for free.”

SUOHC partners with the Stanford Flu Crew – Stanford first-year medical and physician assistant students – who provide flu vaccines at dining halls, SUOHC flu clinics and throughout the local community.

Stanford Flu Crew is the largest flu prevention program of any medical school in the United States. Flu Crew began in 2001 and has become something of a rite of passage for incoming medical students.

This year’s vaccine should provide a better match than last year’s against circulating flu strains. The 2019-20 quadrivalent flu vaccines offered on campus will provide protection against four influenza strains anticipated to be the most prevalent in circulation this flu season.

“One of the biggest effects of getting the flu vaccine is herd immunity, protecting not only yourself but all of those around you,” said Susan Vleck, senior biosafety and biosecurity specialist at Stanford Environmental Health & Safety. “Each year the flu affects millions in the United States, so this year our theme is ‘Be a flu fighter,’ and I think that speaks to what we are doing – fighting flu on the Stanford campus.”

Rich Wittman, medical director of the SUOHC, said: “Flu can be serious, even for healthy people. Since the emergence of the H1N1 strain, the United States has seen an increase in significant illness and severe illness, especially in young children.”

Flu vaccination may keep an individual from getting sick with the flu altogether, but it can also reduce the severity of the illness should illness occur. Getting vaccinated also helps protect everyone on campus, including infants and young children, adults over 65, pregnant women and anyone who has an immune-compromising condition, such as cancer or rheumatoid arthritis.

“It can take up to two weeks after receiving a flu vaccine for the body to build protective immunity,” according to Raj Puri, clinical assistant professor of occupational and environmental medicine at SUOHC. “We recommend that members of the Stanford community receive their flu vaccines by the end of October before influenza begins circulating in earnest and ahead of holiday travel. Flu is circulating even in March and April, so it is better to get vaccinated late than not at all.”

Visit the Stanford Flu website.