Every October, University Health Services hosts a month-long campaign for students, faculty and staff to receive flu shots on campus. This year, the campaign administered 8,093 shots while accommodating social distancing guidelines.
Sherry Bell, consumer education and outreach coordinator for UHS and the Counseling and Mental Health Center, said many of the changes this year eliminated face-to-face contact between clinicians and UT community members, such as filling out appointment forms online.
“We would have loved to have immunized more people,” Bell said. “We had the appointments in our schedule to immunize more people, but I think that there are just a lot of people who weren’t on campus (and) weren’t in Austin.”
Bell said the campaign administered 12,654 shots in 2019, but the difference can mainly be attributed to the number of UT community members studying and working remotely.
Faculty and staff insurance is accepted at almost every pharmacy because getting a flu shot is a preventive measure, Bell said. If a faculty member is living and working remotely 10 miles away from campus, they are more likely to go to a pharmacy closer to them, Bell said.
Bell said in previous years, locations around campus included the William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center, Gregory Gym, the McCombs School of Business and surrounding area, and two locations in the Texas Union. This year, locations included the Texas Union, the JJ Pickle Research Center and the Frank Erwin Center because the large spaces allowed for social distancing, Bell said.
Victoria Donaho, a human development and family science senior, said this was her first time getting a flu shot at UHS, and the streamlined process made her more comfortable receiving her flu shot at UHS over other pharmacies.
“They had a very good process in place to help with social distancing,” Donaho said. “Masks were required, (and) you had to set up an appointment, which prevented people from arriving randomly and clustering in a group waiting.”
Michael Byers, an accounting and business honors sophomore, said he does not usually get a flu shot, but felt it was more important this year.
“Being on campus (and) being around so many people, with COVID especially, I don't want to risk getting the flu and then possibly getting COVID at the same time,” Byers said.
Students, faculty and staff can still make an appointment with UHS online to receive a flu shot.