SHAC flu shot clinic open to all students
With the onset of fall comes the chill of autumn air, the crunch of leaves underfoot and the disruptive sound of germs flying out of people’s mouths and noses.
It’s flu season, and the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) is holding a Flu Shot Clinic on Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. in Smith Memorial Student Union 101.
“Last year it was a bit of a milder flu season,” said Angela Abel, the marketing and communications coordinator at SHAC. “[T]his season should be ramped up a little bit.”
All PSU students are eligible for a flu shot with student ID. The cost of the shot is $15 and will be billed to the recipient’s student account.
“Students with the current PSU healthcare Aetna Plan are covered at 100 percent,” Abel said.
It’s difficult to predict exactly which strains of influenza will have a strong presence during flu season, but many doctors recommend the shot anyway.
Dr. Mark Bajorek, director of health services at PSU, explained how the vaccine is formulated.
“They look at models in Asia, Australia, and sample what’s going on in the United States,” Bajorek said. “Basically, this is a trivalent influenza vaccine, which means it represents three different viruses: two type A’s and one type B.”
Based on influenza strains projected to be prevalent in the upcoming flu season, trivalent influenza vaccines are produced annually and configured differently each time.
“Students will be getting the standard dose,” Bajorek said. “The vaccines are 95% effective, and if someone is exposed to the virus they should be okay.”
Bajorek urges students who are pregnant or have asthma to get the flu shot because they are at a bigger risk of complications like pneumonia once they contract the influenza virus.
“For students over 65, there is actually a high dose influenza shot that stimulates the immune system a little bit more,” Bajorek added.
Students are certainly at high risk of getting the flu. With school back in full swing, campus populations are dense and shared resources like keyboards and desktops are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria.
Bajorek recommends that students wash their hands before they eat and when someone coughs nearby.
“The virus is droplet spread, and if you touch your mouth or your nose, you can bring those droplets and infect your body,” Bajorek said.
Many students are juggling school, work, families and more, and the stresses of multitasking can weaken the immune system quickly.
In addition to stress, proper eating, exercising and sleeping habits often fall to the wayside once the academic year begins, further lessoning the immune system.
“I think that flu shots are a great idea for people who don’t practice healthy eating and workout habits,” said Neal Bateman, a senior advertising and marketing major.
SHAC recommends students take adequate care of themselves if the symptoms strike and contact SHAC or a healthcare provider if they are unsure of what the symptoms are.
A list of flu symptoms can be found at pdx.edu/shac/symptoms and any questions about the vaccine can be answered by calling SHAC at 503.725.2800.
Anyone with egg allergies or neurological disease is urged to speak with a doctor before receiving the vaccine.
When asked about if she would get the vaccine, senior biology major Ruby Hoang said, “Why not? No harm done.”