UF students will be able to receive free flu shots starting at the end of the week.

The Student Health Care Center is sponsoring its annual flu shot kickoff event Friday on the infirmary lawn starting at 9 a.m. The first 750 vaccinated students will receive free T-shirts, pens and GatorWell Health Promotion Services giveaways, up 250 from last year.

The kickoff event expects to vaccinate about 500 students. About 9,000 students, faculty and staff are expected to be vaccinated by the end of flu season in May, said Catherine Seemann, Student Health Care Center spokeswoman.

Intradermal shots with 90 percent smaller needles will be available for $15 for students, $25 for faculty and staff. FluMist will not be offered this year.

Shots remain free for students until the end of the school year. Faculty and staff can be vaccinated at the Benefits Fair for employees on Oct. 30.

Currently, the estimated number of cases of the flu in Florida is low compared to the national baseline, said Heather Rubino, influenza coordinator for the Florida Department of Health.

Flu season is expected to pick up soon, spiking after Winter Break on campus. Students seeking vaccinations will also pick up sharply after the break, Seemann said.

“Students see everyone around them getting sick and they figure it’s time for them to get the shot,” she said.

A version of this story ran on page 8 on 9/16/2013 under the headline "SHCC offers free flu shots and swag"

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