Students fight back against the flu season


Tamonda Griffiths  – News Writer

John McCarthy, pharmacy manager at the ShopRite of Hamden, said at a Wellness Center Health and Wellness Self-Care Fair, students are susceptible to getting the flu because of close quarters; some even continue to go to and from school while suffering from the flu.

“It’s nice to be able to come to campus and offer a nice, simple way [to get a flu shot] where people can just come,” said McCarthy, “while they’re on campus, instead of having to hunt it down at their doctors.”

The fair was a show of all the various services the university has to offer in regard to mental health, clean energy and sustainability, counseling services and the annual walk-in Flu Shot Clinic.

According to McCarthy, the clinic conducted earlier this October, had over 60 participants. He said in September, both this year and last year, the clinic got over 100 participants.

According to Wellness Center graduate intern Bianca Flowers, approximately 280 students received the flu shot between last year and this current semester.

She said they usually host two to three clinics in the fall: one in September for nursing majors and other health profession students; and two more for the general public.

McCarthy said he enjoys going into the community and providing access to flu shots. He said the benefits of flu shots are, “innumerable.”

McCarthy said students who wish to receive a flu shot need only to provide either their insurance card or a prescription card at the walk-in.

People should not wait until the winter to get a vaccination, he said, as it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become, “fully effective.”

“It’s ideal to get it sometime before December, if possible,” said McCarthy. “Once the flu season is up and running, you’re already protected.”

“[The turnout] often depends on the weather or the location,” said Emily Rosenthal, coordinator of the Wellness Center. “Some students swipe in and some students choose not to; it’s also open to faculty and staff, visitors, anyone.”

Rosenthal said last semester another clinic was added in January because of the “flu crisis.”

“We did it in the [Engleman] rotunda and people were – we ran out of flu shots,” said Rosenthal.

In a campus-wide statement put out in the spring 2018 semester, it was reported from the Center of Disease Control over 12,000 people were hospitalized due to the influenza virus, making it the worst flu season in 15 years.

Kyra Lawrence, a senior and public health major, said she believes people should promote healthy things, such as getting the flu shot.

“[The flu shot] helps keep us healthy,” said Lawrence, “and it especially helps vulnerable groups of people, who may not have the immune ability to fight off the flu, like infants, small children, the elderly; those are huge demographics in our community.”

Spencer Brunson, a junior and marketing major, said he declined getting a flu shot because of the “stigma.”

“[The flu shot] is not really, like – it doesn’t really help,” said Brunson. “It does more harm than good.”

Senior and education major Rachel Knight said she gets the flu shot every year.

“It’s cold out and everyone else is getting sick,” said Knight, “you don’t want to be the one that gets sick too.”

Photo Credit: Jenna Stepleman

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