University News

1,700 students receive free on-campus flu vaccines

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

During the past two weeks, University Health Services held 12 free walk-in flu shot clinics at Josiah’s.

According to Lynn Dupont, assistant director of Health Services, employees administered approximately 1,700 vaccines at the Jo’s clinics. This number is significantly lower than the number administered last year, but is in line with the number of flu shots administered in 2007 and 2008, she added.

In previous years, the clinics averaged between 1,600 and 1,800 student flu shots, but in 2009, they provided 2,675 seasonal flu shots and 2,816 H1N1 vaccines. This year’s vaccine protects against the H1N1 flu and two other strains of influenza.

The gap between this year and last year can be attributed to last year’s H1N1 pandemic and the massive attention the media paid to influenza and flu vaccines, Dupont said. She emphasized that last year, not this year, was the anomaly.

“This was really on course with what we’ve done,” she said. “I’ve been doing these clinics for years. If you take last year out of it, we’re absolutely consistent with prior years.”

When asked whether they got the flu shot, many students who responded that they had not also said they simply do not like vaccines.

“I don’t like the idea of not knowing what they are putting into my body. I’m just against it,” said Christopher Schiesser ’13.

Others worried that side effects of the vaccine could interfere with their commitments on campus. “I’ve been told that sometimes if you get the flu shot, there are repercussions of getting flu symptoms,” Sami Horneff ’12 said. “I’m in a show right now, and I don’t have time to be sick.”

Daniel McGill ’14 was one of the students who received a flu shot at Jo’s during this year’s clinics. He said he got the flu shot because “who wants to get sick? Sickness spreads so easily on a campus like this.” McGill also said that he had been more inclined to get the flu shot because it was available for free.

“I knew that the flu shot clinics were going on because I got an e-mail. I was going to do it but I just totally forgot,” said Grace Dunham ’14, adding that she would be interested in getting a flu shot if more clinics were offered in the future. She also said she had received flu shots in past years.

“This is one of the first years in a long time that we’ve had an ample supply of vaccines, so we want to use it,” Dupont said. “We want to make sure that every student who wants the vaccine can have it.”

She also said there will be more on-campus clinics during the week of Nov. 1, including a Nov. 4 clinic in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center. After those clinics, students who wish to get the flu shot will be able to get it by appointment at Health Services.

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