By: Macey-Marie Hobson

fluWith the growing spread of COVID-19, don’t add catching the flu to your list of risks this season. Get a flu shot.

Although a flu shot will not prevent the coronavirus, it can help your body fight off the virus and minimize the risk of catching both viruses at the same time.

UAB students can get their flu vaccination at no cost through UAB Student Health and Wellness. Drive-thru flu shots are available Nov. 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 12 Street Parking Deck. 

"Getting a flu vaccine, and continuing to follow hand washing and distancing recommendations, as well as staying home when you are unwell, are the best actions to take to stay healthy this coming flu season," says Kathleen Pridgen, M.D., associate medical director of Student Health Services. "A flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the influenza. If you do get the flu during the season you got vaccinated, the illness is much more likely to be mild."

"One common misconception about the flu vaccine is that it gives you the flu. The flu vaccine does not give you the flu," says Monica Merriweather, RN, BSN, at Student Health and Wellness. "However, students need to understand that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body."

UAB Student Health and Wellness runs several campaigns throughout the year especially during flu season. 

"For instance, our ‘Happy Hands’ campaign that begins in August to remind students to wash their hands often after touching surfaces, when ill, and to protect against illnesses," says Merriweather. "We also have our 'Flu Who? Not You!' campaign to promote the flu vaccine, ways to stay healthy during the flu season, how to schedule a flu vaccine appointment at UAB Student Health Services, and what to do if you become ill."

To schedule an appointment with Student Health and Wellness call (205) 934-3580 or visit www.uab.edu/students/health/ and log in to your patient portal.