What to do if you missed Cal U’s annual flu shot clinic


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Upsplash

“All Rite-Aid pharmacists are certified immunizers,” said Chris Savarese, spokesperson for Rite Aid. “No appointment needed, come right on in.”

Johanna Eisel, Staff Writer

There’s still time to get the annual flu vaccination, even if you missed the flu shot clinics hosted by California University of Pennsylvania’s student wellness center.

Cal U normally hosts five or six annual flu vaccinations during the fall semester, but due to COVID-19, the number of clinics was reduced to two, which were held on Oct. 8 and Oct. 16. If you missed those two days to get the flu shot by a certified Rite Aid pharmacist, you can still receive the flu shot at any Rite Aid location near you.

“All Rite-Aid pharmacists are certified immunizers,” said Chris Savarese, spokesperson for Rite Aid. “No appointment needed, come right on in.”

Since there’s no need to schedule an appointment to get the flu shot, you should be prepared to set aside some time for your visit, in case the pharmacist is helping other customers. Savarese said that ideally, the process to get the vaccination is seamless, and you should be able to get the flu shot in a timely manner.

“It depends on the day,” said Savarese. “Ideally, I think half an hour should be sufficient.”

If you haven’t gotten a flu shot at Rite Aid before, there will be some paperwork that you have to fill out, before receiving the vaccination. The paperwork should only take a few minutes to fill out, while you wait for the pharmacist. The paperwork includes basic information about your health history and what insurance you’re covered by, so be sure to bring your insurance card with you.

Savarese said that Rite Aid takes most major insurances. If you don’t have insurance, you can still opt to get the flu shot and pay out of pocket.

“We offer four different flu shots,” said Savarese. “It is $39.99 for the quadrivalent flu vaccine.”

The quadrivalent flu vaccine is the most common flu shot for people under the age of 65, to protect against common strains of this year’s flu.

“Quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against four strains of the flu: influenza A H3N2 virus, influenza A H1N1 virus, and two strains of influenza B virus,” said Savarese in an online Rite Aid press release on Aug. 18.

According to Savarese’s press release, two of the other vaccinations Rite Aid offers, FLUAD and Fluzone HD, are for people that are 65 years or older. The fourth vaccination is Flublok, which is the same as the quadrivalent vaccine but is processed without egg. Flublok is for people that are 18 or older with an egg allergy that prevents them from receiving the quadrivalent flu shot, said Savarese in the online press release.

The last thing to know, before going to Rite Aid is the hours that the pharmacy is open. At 404 3rd St. in California, PA the pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Different pharmacies can have different hours though, so be sure to check online or call ahead, if you go to a different location.

With both COVID-19 and flu season happening simultaneously, Savarese stressed the importance of receiving this year’s flu shot.

“At Rite-Aid, we believe this will be the most important flu season,” said Savarese. “We could be facing a twin-demic.”

Director of the Student Wellness Support Services at Cal U, Rachel Michaels, expressed similar sentiments, regarding the importance of this year’s flu vaccination.

“Since the flu season is now occurring amidst COVID-19, there are two viruses spreading right now: the flu and COVID,” said Michaels. “We know that there is currently no vaccine for COVID, but there is for the flu. Rather than risking getting infected with both Covid and the flu, many people opt for a flu shot to lessen the likelihood of getting sick by both viruses.”