The University of Connecticut’s Student Health Services (SHS) will offer free flu vaccinations to students Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.
This year, the clinic is one of the only in Connecticut administering a Quadrivalent Vaccine, capable of immunizing individuals to four different strains of the flu compared to the Trivalent vaccines offered by other clinics in the region that are only effective against three various strains of virus, according to Kathleen Sanner, RN-BC, who heads the clinic’s operations.
When the flu infection does occur, symptoms include fever, chills, headache, dry cough and muscle aches for at least one to two weeks, and in rare cases, a severe infection can lead to pneumonia or death. With the busy schedule most college students maintain, even just one week of missed classes due to illness can potentially set a student back academically for an entire semester, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
SHS expects to immunize roughly 3,000 students before flu season comes into full swing at the beginning of the spring semester. It is important that as many students as possible come out and get immunized during this time of year, as those who are vaccinated now will reach peak immunity when flu season reaches its height in a few months, Sanner said.
Getting many students vaccinated now rather than later will enhance the effects of a phenomenon known as “Herd Immunity.” As more members of the student body get immunized, a general immunity will be created for the entire population, and make it less likely that a large flu outbreak will occur at UConn. This is especially prevalent on similar college campuses where a large percent of the student population lives on campus in close quarters with one another, Sanner said.
The cost of the clinic is entirely covered by Student Health Services, and is available only to UConn Storrs students at no charge. It is run primarily by the SHS’ nursing staff, along with volunteers from the Student National Pharmaceutical Association and American Pharmacist Association, who registered students attending the clinic.
Dining Services will also have an area set up for those needing privacy for religious or personal reasons during the vaccination process, which takes about 10 minutes.
SHS will continue to offer free flu vaccinations throughout the semester at their permanent location on campus at 234 Glenbrook Road. Appointments can be made at 860-486-2719.
Jeffrey Levins is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.