In order to combat flu season, Stevenson University’s Wellness Center is offering flu shots through September and October.
Flu shot clinics started on Sept. 17 and are scheduled twice a week; the last clinic of the fall season will be Oct. 4. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone get the flu vaccine by the end of October.
Getting the shot is worth it, especially for college students. “During your college years, it will keep you healthier. Given the schedules that students keep between classes, jobs, athletics, and other campus and off campus obligations, your immune systems are weakened. Not getting adequate sleep, sharing food and drinks, and not getting all the vitamins and minerals needed to help boost your immunity can often leave you susceptible to contracting viruses such as the flu,” said Julie Sanz, a nurse practitioner in Stevenson’s Wellness Center.
There is a common misconception that the flu vaccine can actually cause the flu. However, according to Sanz, “As for getting the flu from the flu shot, it’s just not possible. The vaccine is made of a dead virus and therefore will not make you sick.”
She continued “When you hear people say, ‘I got the flu shot, and a week later I got the flu,’ it’s not because the shot gave them the flu. It’s actually because the vaccine takes up to two weeks to take full effect on your immune system.” This means that the later anyone waits to get the flu vaccine, the more likely it that they have already been exposed to the virus.
“I can say that there is still a chance that you can get the flu even if you’ve had a flu shot, but the symptoms and duration will be much less that if you hadn’t gotten the shot,” said Sanz.
There are some possible side effects from the vaccination, including soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot. Headache, fever, nausea, and muscle aches are also possible side effects, according to the CDC.
Most insurance will cover the shot; however, if insurance doesn’t cover it, the cost is only $25, which can be paid in cash, check, or even billed to a student account.
The remaining dates for the fall season of flu shots are Wednesday, Oct. 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Rockland, and Friday, Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Caves. This year, the Wellness Center will also give flu shots during National Influenza Vaccination Week on Dec. 3. The final flu shots for the 2019/2020 school year will be given on Jan. 31 in the Wellness Center.