Seattle U Hosts Two Day Walmart Flu and COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic


Adeline Ong

Bottle of syringes pointing down with needles attached

To increase Seattle University’s COVID-19 vaccination rate and protect the Seattle U community against influenza, Seattle U partnered with Walmart to host a two-day vaccine clinic Oct. 5 and 6, which offered flu shots and Pfizer COVID-19 first dose vaccines as well as boosters to those eligible.

Seattle U partnered with Aetna Student Health in 2019, allowing the university to offer a yearly flu vaccine clinic going forward. Aetna Student Health covered the cost of vaccines for students whose insurance company might not cover the cost or those who do not have medical insurance. 

After partnering with various vendors over the past three years for the flu vaccine clinics, Seattle U chose Walmart after a successful COVID-19 vaccine clinic last spring

Students were encouraged to register to receive a vaccine ahead of time, but were also able to walk into the clinic and receive a shot. Third-year Environmental Studies student, Emily Harris, took advantage of the opportunity to receive her flu shot. 

“Getting the flu shot on campus from Walmart was super easy and convenient. The staff were really friendly and helped me fill out the paperwork and get my flu shot,” Harris said. 

Due to COVID-19 mitigation last year, influenza cases were some of the lowest ever recorded. Many people were in quarantine and unable to boost their immune systems to prepare for this year’s flu season—making more people vulnerable to infection and severe symptoms of influenza.

Director of the Student Health Center (SHC), Tara Hicks, encouraged the Seattle U community to receive their flu vaccines this year. She emphasized that receiving a flu shot will prevent severe symptoms and hospitalizations for those that are infected while preventing infection completely for some. 

“We already have a healthcare system that has been working at over 100% [capacity] for a year and half with the COVID-19 pandemic. By getting the flu vaccine we are helping to reduce that burden as well as protect ourselves and the people around us who are at a higher risk of severe disease and hospitalization if infected,” Hicks said.

Another student who took advantage of the vaccine clinic on campus is Jay Grant, a third-year finance student. He received a flu vaccine at the Walmart clinic last week. 

“I definitely wanted to get my flu shot this year with everyone coming back to campus and the chances of getting the flu being higher, so I thought that the clinic would be the perfect opportunity,” Grant said. “I was able to get my flu shot within 15 minutes of arriving, which made it super convenient between classes.”

Over 8,000 students, faculty and staff have gotten fully vaccinated since Seattle U implemented a COVID-19 vaccine requirement last spring.  

However, some students did not have access to a World Health Organization (WHO) authorized COVID-19 vaccine in their communities prior to returning to campus. Because of this, Seattle U wanted to give students an on-campus opportunity to fulfill the vaccine requirement. 

Hicks shared that everyone in the Seattle U community was required to upload a copy of their vaccination documents that were then reviewed and verified by the COVID-19 case management team. 

Anyone who was not in compliance with the policy was individually contacted and not permitted on campus until the requirement was met. In addition, any faculty and staff that are not fully vaccinated or exempted by Governor Inslee’s Oct. 18 mandated deadline will not be allowed to perform work for the university.

The clinic ultimately provided over 500 flu vaccines for students, faculty and staff as well as seven Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Walmart will be returning to Seattle U to give out second doses for those who received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Oct. 26 and 27. Additionally, anyone that is eligible for a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may be able to receive it at the follow-up clinic dates. The university hopes to continue providing opportunities for the Seattle U community to receive flu vaccines every year.