Dear Alice,

Is there any place where Columbia students can get free flu shots?

Dear Reader,

Yes, and congratulations for looking out for your health and the health of others! Columbia students, faculty, and staff on the Morningside campus can receive free flu shots through Columbia Health at a flu fair. There are a number of free flu shot fairs at different locations on campus during the fall semester of each year, and they're available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Students on the Medical Center campus who are enrolled in the Student Health Service can also receive the flu vaccine at no charge through Medical Services. Medical Center students can make an appointment at Medical Services by calling, through the online portal, or in person at 100 Haven Avenue on the second floor. Depending on your academic program, you may be required to get the flu vaccine due to your presence in a health care facility and interaction with patients, as required by the New York State Department of Health. You can call or visit the Medical Services website to learn more about receiving the flu shot during the fall. 

Outside of either Medical Services office, there are a number of places to turn. For those with insurance, many pharmacies offer the flu shot for low or no cost. For pharmacy services, membership to these stores generally isn't required. Additionally, employers and city or county health departments may all offer free vaccines at flu fairs throughout the season. To locate a flu vaccine provider, you could use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Flu Vaccine Finder, the NYC Health Map, or to find federally funded health centers, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services health center locator. To learn more about the flu shot and inform your decision about getting the vaccine, you can check out Should I get a flu shot?.

Here's to staying healthy this flu season,

Alice!

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