Flu shot clinics provide vaccines for the campus community

Miriam Gildea, Staff writer

Many of us are familiar with the famous School House Rock song “Interjections.” While this catchy tune’s primary purpose is to inform children about grammar, it also depicts little Reginald getting an injection to prevent the flu.

It is that time of year again where sickness has the potential to turn everything on its head and a small needle in the arm is the small price to pay for sustained health.

According to the Center for Disease Control, anywhere from 12,000 to 16,000 people die from the flu annually, not to mention the fact that about nine to 45 million people experience the illness. Thus, getting the flu shot is imperative to help keep ourselves and others from getting sick.

One of the blessings of the pandemic has been an increase in people making personal sacrifices for others’ protection or peace of mind.
Wearing a mask or washing our hands more frequently may not be our favorite tasks, but we do these things out of humility and care for our community as a whole. Thus, just as we strive daily to proactively stop the spread of COVID-19, getting a flu shot helps to proactively prevent the spread and contraction of influenza.

The nature of the university lifestyle often places us in close proximity to one another. Even though, due to the pandemic, we have been more spread out this season, we still have interactions and live within close quarters, giving ample opportunity for disease to spread.
Pursuit of higher education is an honor and blessing to each of us. Already we are juggling academics, sports, clubs, projects, cleaning and a myriad of other activities and adjustments, so the last thing anyone needs is to get sick. Moreover, students who contract the flu may show symptoms similar to COVID-19 and may have a weakened immune system as they get over the flu, which would increase their risk during this pandemic.

Executive director of Wellness, Judy Smith, Ph.D., is an advocate for students’ health and well-being. “It is more important this year than ever to get the vaccine. Some symptoms of flu and of COVID-19 appear very similar. If you have the flu vaccine you are significantly less likely to get the flu or experience those symptoms. This can significantly reduce anxiety, as well as the use of outpatient resources,” said Smith.

Luckily, Mercyhurst understands our health needs and is providing students with the resources to stay healthy by hosting a number of flu shot clinics. So far, over 300 students and 130 employees have been vaccinated. In the past few weeks, the school has worked with CVS pharmacy to operate two clinics on campus and has plans for a third to be decided. CVS also offers flu shots to students on site.
Students were able to get their flu shots on Oct. 14 and 22 in the Athletic Center, while employees received their vaccinations on Oct. 15 and 21 in the Student Union Great Room.

The process is simple, stress-free and free of charge. One merely has to print and fill out a short consent form, wear short sleeves and show up.

Stay healthy, Lakers! Get vaccinated and be on the lookout for the next posted clinic.