Students at the University of Connecticut will be able to receive the HPV vaccine on Mondays and Tuesdays this semester through Student Health Services, according to the Daily Digest.
Dr. Ellyssa Eror, the medical director of Student Health Services, said the vaccination is important because it protects against the sexually transmitted disease known as HPV, as well as several associated cancers.
“It protects against cervical, vulvar, vaginal, oral, anal, rectal and penile cancers. It is estimated that HPV causes almost 34,000 cancers every year,” Eror said. “It is strongly recommended that everyone be fully vaccinated. The CDC now recommends vaccination up to age 45.”
The vaccine consists of a series of three injections offered at the first appointment, two months later and then six months after the first injection, according to the Student Health Services’ website. The injections can all be completed at the health services building, or can be finished from an initial injection given at home.
To make an appointment to receive the HPV vaccine, call 860-486-2719. Availability is limited and appointments are currently booked through Feb. 19, but that is subject to change once Student Health Services reassesses demand, Eror said.
“There are only a set number of appointments available each Monday and Tuesday afternoon where students can receive preventive health counseling in addition to the vaccine,” Eror said.
Students with Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, CIGNA, ConnectiCare, HealthNet, Tricare or United Healthcare insurance plans can have a claim submitted to their carriers, although it is not guaranteed the vaccine will be covered, according to the Student Health Services website.
Those without any of the specified insurance plans will have the option of paying through the university fee bill or cash, check or credit card when they receive the vaccination, the website says.
Generally, the HPV vaccine costs between $130 to $190 per shot without insurance, which can cost up to $500 total with all three injections, according to VeryWell Health.
Tatiana Eder, an eighth-semester animal science major, said the HPV vaccination plan is convenient for students on campus who want to be protected against the disease.
“I think it is great to have the vaccinations,” Eder said. “It is even better if you are getting the vaccine for free with the insurance and copay.”
Marisa Padelli, a second-semester nursing major, said her career choice allows her to see the vaccination as a necessity and an important step in the right direction for the university.
“I think that the vaccine is definitely a good idea—really anything to reduce the risk of HPV and cancers is,” Padelli said. “Since I am a nursing major, it is good to get everyone vaccinated from a public health lens. The more people who are vaccinated, the better.”
Christopher Thomas, a second-semester exploratory major, said the presence of the vaccine on campus will hopefully decrease the total number of HPV cases over time.
“I think that it (the vaccine) is a step in the right direction,” Thomas said. “Eventually, the potential eradication of such diseases that the vaccine fights will hopefully be achieved through vaccination.”
Although the injections are not mandatory for continued enrollment at the university, Eror said students are taking a risk in choosing not to receive the injections.
“The only penalty for not being vaccinated is not being protected,” Eror said.
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.