Students, faculty get vaccinated to prepare for flu season

Forrest Milburn

In preparation for the upcoming flu season, students lined up Tuesday for vaccinations at this year’s first flu shot clinic in the Student Services Building.

University Health Services has hosted the clinic campaign each year for several decades, aiming to provide a vaccination source for students, staff and faculty with the recommendation that everyone get vaccinated once a year, if possible.

“If you think of the campus as a large herd of animals, then it’s about herd immunity,” Kathy Mosteller, UHS director of nursing services, said. “We want to immunize as many people as we possibly can because that will protect those who, for whatever reason, choose not to or medically are not able to.”

According to the UHS website, the shot UHS administers contains an inactivated virus flu vaccine, which makes contracting the flu impossible, since the viruses in the vaccine are dead, not weakened.  

Through surveying students, Sherry Bell, UHS senior program coordinator, said UHS has found that between 15 and 16 percent of all students have suffered a negative academic impact from colds, the flu or sore throats in the last year.

Mechanical engineering sophomore Haley Ross said she decided to get vaccinated at the clinic because she was worried any symptoms related to catching the flu could potentially hurt her studies.

“I know for a lot of students, we don’t have transportation to go somewhere else and get it done,” Ross said. “It’s hard to find places nearby that will do it otherwise, so having this makes it that much easier to get it all done.”

To receive a vaccination, insured students are required to bring their UT ID and insurance card or complete insurance information. Students who are uninsured or do not have the information available can have the charge billed to their UT accounts, and uninsured faculty and staff are required to pay $10 by cash or check when they get their shot.

“We don’t want students who don’t have insurance to think that they can’t get the vaccine, because they can,” Bell said. “We try to do everything we can to reduce barriers to getting the flu shot.”

Clinics are offered Tuesday through Thursday for four weeks throughout October, with a full schedule listing the locations and dates available on the UHS website.