Sindecuse Health Center offers seasonal influenza vaccine

contact: Joe VanDerBos
| WMU News
Photo of a woman getting an influenza vaccine.

Employees, students and retirees can obtain flu vaccinations by appointment or on a drop-in basis during two November events.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Sindecuse Health Center is offering vaccinations to Western Michigan University employees, students and retirees who want to protect themselves and the people around them from seasonal influenza.

Vaccinations are being administered to those individuals, as well as their eligible dependents age 12 and older, by appointment at the health center and also will be administered during two planned drop-in clinics in November.

The quadrivalent vaccine protects against four strains of the influenza virus. To make an appointment to get a flu shot, visit wmich.edu/healthcenter or call (269) 387-3287.

Vaccination opportunities

Appointments may be made during the following days and times:

  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Two drop-in clinics have been set up in November:

  • Employees may receive a flu shot at the Benefits and Wellness Expo, Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Bernhard Center.
  • Students may attend a clinic Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. in Room 107, Bernhard Center.

Thimerosal-free vaccine available

The seasonal flu vaccine contains thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative that has been used for decades in the United States. Although rare, some people may be allergic to thimerosal. Those who believe they are allergic to thimerosal should obtain an order from their primary care physician stating they must receive the preservative-free vaccine. Sindecuse will only administer thimerosal-free doses to patients with an order.

vaccination timing

Multiple factors may influence the decision about when to get a flu shot. Infants, senior citizens, and individuals with health conditions that put them at risk and their caregivers are advised to get a flu shot as soon as possible. Others with timing questions should contact their health care provider.

The start of a flu outbreak changes from year to year. Outbreaks can start as early as October but tend to peak in January or later. Immune protection starts to decline several months after receiving the flu shot. Healthy individuals receiving flu vaccine at the end of October or early November may have more protection against flu virus outbreaks that occur later in the season.

Cost of Flu Shots

WMU employees covered by the University's Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO group 007005281 and their covered dependents age 12 or older receive flu shots with no out-of-pocket expense at Sindecuse or one of the drop-in events.

For WMU retirees, flu shots are a covered benefit for those with MPSERS, Medicare or Medicare Advantage and for those without Medicare who are covered under WMU's Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO insurance plan.

If grant funding for uninsured and underinsured students has been used up, WMU students receiving flu vaccinations will be charged $20. Retirees without Medicare, non-benefits-eligible employees and their dependents will pay $30 per dose. Patients should check with their insurance carrier regarding benefits—many insurance companies treat seasonal flu immunization as a covered benefit.

Grant for students, vaccination challenge

The Student Health Advisory Council has secured a grant from Alana’s Foundation to cover the cost of vaccines for up to 100 uninsured and underinsured WMU students.

In addition, council members will be leading an effort to encourage students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated and then vote in the College & University Flu Vaccination Challenge sponsored by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Anyone who has had the vaccine may vote in the online poll.

Methods of payment

Payments are accepted via personal check, cash or, in the case of students, a charge to a University student account. Employees not covered by insurance may use the payroll deduction plan.

Sindecuse will bill insurance carriers for students and non-benefits-eligible employees who have provided insurance information. Credit card payments may be made only at the health center.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.