The Student Health Center held two free flu clinics in October, encouraging students to get shots and stay healthy for the semester.
On Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m the Student Health Center’s first free flu vaccine clinic was offered to all registered students to protect themselves from the influenza virus.
Director of Student Health Services Dr. Richard Ordway said 203 students received shots on Oct. 3, a number he said was disappointing considering it was more than 300 last year.
On Tuesday, Oct. 23 the Student Health Center held their second free flu clinic, where shots were given from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The Health Center asked students to make appointments in advance, but offered to work around students’ busy schedules.
At the second clinic, 93 students were vaccinated, 64 of whom were scheduled and 29 walk-in appointments.
Lori Mitchell, assistant director of student health services, said many of the students who took advantage of the second clinic said they were unable to attend the first clinic and were happy it was offered again.
“They also expressed the convenience of the clinic taking place during the day, as many were commuters and not here in the evening,” Mitchell said.
If students missed their first two opportunities, Dr. Ordway said free flu shots are available anytime from September to March at the Student Health Center. Students just need to call for an appointment ahead of time. In addition, another flu vaccine clinic is being planned for November.
Third-year sculpture major Samantha DeMonte thought it was very important that the Health Center provide free flu shots to ensure the availability to those who may not be able to afford it.
“With all the other costs that college students have to go through, their health should not come last,” DeMonte said. “Vaccines should be available to anyone who would want one.”
The Health Center offers free flu shots in order to encourage students to get vaccinated and to prevent a large outbreak on campus, Ordway said.
“The Student Health Service would like to prevent as much flu on campus as possible,” Ordway said. “A case of flu is very disruptive to a student’s semester work. 15 [out of] 16 of our staff have received flu shots so that we won’t spread flu to students.”
Symptoms of the flu include fever of more than 100.5 degrees, a dry cough, feeling horrible, generalized aching and the feeling sick for two to three weeks, Ordway said.
Victor Ortiz, a fourth-year public relations major who had the flu in the past, advised students to get the shot.
“My entire body just felt horrible, my throat hurt, I could barely get out of bed or eat anything,” Ortiz said. “It was just awful.”
Ordway said the peak time the virus breaks out on campus is mid-December to mid-March. He said everyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot.
“In the last two months, myself and others around me have been so sick that the flu shot doesn’t sound like a bad idea,” DeMonte said. “If it’s one less thing I can avoid this winter, I’m definitely going to look into it.”