Health Center distributes early round of flu vaccine

Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier managing editor

The Health Center administered around 100 flu vaccines to students on Monday, running them dry of the partial batch they received over the weekend. 

The Health Center deployed a campus-wide email on Monday morning, informing students that they will be administering flu vaccines the through Tuesday, no appointment necessary. Less than eight hours later, they updated students that no shots were left. 

According to Health Center Director Emma Cordle, this batch was only a portion of the normal amount they ordered. After receiving last year’s batch delayed in mid-October, Cordle wanted to make sure the campus got it as soon as possible for this upcoming flu season. According to Cordle, her pharmaceutical representative offered to send part of the order early, and she accepted after much deliberation. 

“Big pharmacies get their flu vaccines way before we do because they order such big quantities,” Cordle said. “Knowing that in the past it’s been as late as November for us, I chose to do the partial shipment.” 

Cordle said that nursing majors and other students working for hospitals this fall are required to receive their flu vaccine before they can begin. Additionally, according to Cordle and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the antibodies from the vaccine that provide protection take up to two weeks to develop. These factors, in combination with how early flu seasons have been starting, are why Cordle decided that some vaccines early are better than more later. 

Senior Hannah Pitts, student director of the Health Center, agreed with Cordle’s decision to distribute them as soon as they could. 

“We wanted to let students come in as quickly as they can because the sooner you have it, the better,” Pitts said. “The flu hits early, and you want it in your system before it hits.” 

According to Cordle, Pitts and junior Madison Smith, outreach director for the Health Center, students clustered in throughout the day to get their vaccine. However, Pitts and Smith were not surprised at how short the batch of vaccines lasted, because they usually see about 100 students per day when flu vaccines come in. 

Cordle said that students shouldn’t worry if they could not receive a vaccine on Monday. As this batch was only a partial shipment, the Health Center will receive more flu vaccines for students this fall. 

“There will be more opportunities, hopefully in October,” Cordle said. “We will get around 150 more.” 

Until then, several other pharmacies, such as Walgreens and CVS, are offering flu vaccines for free with most health insurances. Publix is even offering a $10 gift card for customers who receive their flu shot through their pharmacy. 

Cordle recommends that those who work or live with children, the elderly or anyone immunocompromised should be vaccinated. She encourages anyone to get their vaccine to minimize their flu symptoms if they do catch the virus, as the vaccine doesn’t prevent the student from getting the flu entirely. Pitts added that, because of the close quarters and communal amenities Berry students share on campus, it is imperative that students get their vaccine. 

Pitts said that after receiving the vaccine, students shouldn’t be surprised if they experience a few symptoms, but that is no cause for concern. 

“Students need to know that, if you get the flu vaccine, your throat may be sore the next day or you may feel congested,” Pitts said. “Don’t worry, that’s normal.” 

Additionally, Smith said that because of the strength of this year’s vaccine, a student’s arm may feel more sore the next day at the vaccination site than usual. According to the CDC, this year, most vaccines will be quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four different flu strains, as opposed to the trivalent vaccines used last year. 

Along with the vaccine, Cordle said that good handwashing is key for protection against the flu. 

“It’s the number one way to prevent viruses,” Cordle said. 

Smith said that if a student believes they have the flu, they should visit the Health Center to get tested. However, Pitts said it is important for students to keep in mind that the center will not run a flu test if the patient hasn’t experienced symptoms for over 48 hours. According to Pitts, it will be too early to tell and the tests are expensive. She recommends that students wait another day and come back. 

Students with questions should schedule an appointment with the Health Center, which is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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