The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colors and the annual question of flu shots are on everybody’s minds: is it worth it to get a flu vaccine this year? The short answer—yes. The flu vaccine decreases the risk of contracting the flu by 40% to 60%, and if the flu is contracted, the vaccine reduces the severity and risk of hospitalization. For UP students living locally, getting the flu shot can be as easy as attending the Health and Counseling Center’s flu shot clinic on Tuesday.
The HCC is teaming up with the School of Nursing on Sept. 29 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to administer flu shots to the UP community. The clinic will be held on the Clark Library Patio. The flu shots are free for students with coverage under Pacific Source student health insurance. Otherwise, they cost $20, which can be paid in cash or charged to your student account.
“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Alexis Mills, the medical office administrator at the Health and Counseling Center, said.
The flu hospitalizes thousands of Americans each year. With our healthcare systems already overwhelmed, understaffed and low on resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic, getting a flu shot is doing your part to reduce the strain on hospitals and healthcare workers. Because the flu test and COVID-19 test are similar, testing for both diseases could be strained as well. More than anything, however, being infected with both COVID-19 and the flu could increase the severity of both sicknesses, as both target the lungs.
Though getting the flu vaccine is important every year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing the spread of the flu is crucial to reducing strain on our own bodies as well as our healthcare systems.
“We are encouraging students who are not able to attend this flu shot clinic, or who are located in their hometowns, to go to their local pharmacy or doctor's office with their health insurance card to get an annual flu shot at no cost,” Mills said.
Information on the flu shot clinic can be found on the UP Health and Counseling Center webpage. The clinic will be moved to the Franz Lobby in the event of rainy weather.
Sadie Wuertz is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.