Students face difficulty finding time for flu shots

Zoë Howard

University Health Services hosts flu clinics on campus each year, but some students face difficulty finding time in their schedules to get their flu shots.

The clinics are open to students and staff Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at varying locations such as the Student Services Building and Gregory Gym.

“Our main goal is to immunize as many students as efficiently as we can,” said Sherry Bell, University Health Services consumer education and outreach coordinator. “Last year, we immunized over 11,000 students, and this year we are trying to immunize even more.”

Bell said a flu clinic visit takes only 15 minutes. However, some students with heavy afternoon schedules said they are struggling to find time.

“I am in class during the majority of the times available,” psychology freshman Claire Perkins said. “I don’t have time to walk all the way to the clinic, wait in line, get my shot and get to my next class on time.”

Perkins said University Health Services should expand their hours to better accommodate students’ schedules. 

“I definitely think there should be more times in the evening, when people don’t generally have class,” Perkins said.

Expanding available hours would offer students more time to attend the clinic, but Bell said this is no easy task. University Health Services sets up 12 to 14 immunization stations each day the clinic is open.

“We have to set up chairs and organize multiple stations every day, which takes a long time,” Bell said. “Opening at noon gives us the time to make sure the immunization process goes as efficiently as possible.”

Public health freshman Siddha Sannigrahi visited the clinic to get her flu shot last Thursday and said the entire process took about 20 to 25 minutes.

“It was really easy to fit in to my schedule,” Sannigrahi said. “I went after my first class ended and still had time to eat lunch after.”

Economics freshman Grace Blumenfeld also got her flu vaccine through University Health Services. 

“I found the time in my schedule to go to the clinic, but I think it should definitely go later,” Blumenfeld said.

Although many students have difficult schedules to work around, Bell said students should prioritize getting the flu vaccination, which is free through University Health Services for students with insurance.

“Getting the flu vaccination is so important,” Bell said. “I cannot encourage it enough.”