Health Center nurse supervisor discusses importance of flu shot prior to Monday’s student clinic

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Students will have another opportunity to receive a free flu shot at an outdoor clinic in the Alumni House parking lot on Monday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

According to Lenora Karenbauer, a registered nurse supervisor at the Student Health Center, there will be approximately 350 units available at Monday’s clinic. These units will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Students are required to wear a mask, bring their student ID and social distance while in line. Students will undergo a temperature check on-site, but must be feeling well to receive the vaccine.

This is the third student clinic this semester; the first clinic at SRU’s main campus administered 150 vaccines, and the second clinic at SRU’s Harrisville campus administered 75.

The flu vaccine contains a dead virus, which is a combination of dominant strains from previous flu seasons. While the effectiveness may vary, Karenbauer said that the deadly virus will not give the recipient the flu.

Karenbauer also said that getting the flu shot is important for students to stay healthy and maintain academic success, especially if they live in communal living.

“A large amount of people living close together are at higher risk of illness transmission,” Karenbauer said. “A large number of vaccinated individuals create herd immunity.”

The concept of herd immunity is especially important in cases in which people are allergic to the flu shot or are unable to receive the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people with an egg allergy and/or Guillain-Barré syndrome discuss the shot with their doctor.

“For instance, if you are allergic to the vaccine and you cannot get it, if the people surrounding you are vaccinated, even though you yourself may not be vaccinated, you get some protection,” Karenbauer said.

As the flu season typically starts in October and peaks in January or February, people may start to experience symptoms that are common with both flu and COVID-19, which are both respiratory illnesses. These may include fever, body aches and sore throat. Karenbauer said that the loss of taste or smell is a symptom seen with COVID-19 cases but not the flu or cold.

While people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, are at increased risk for complications, people who do not have these conditions run the risk of exposing more vulnerable populations to the flu, Karenbauer added.

Because the long-term effects of COVID-19 are unknown, Karenbauer explained that the combination of flu and COVID-19 is also unknown.

“It’s unknown the long term of effects of COVID, and because of that, it’s also unknown if you recover from COVID in October and you get influenza in January, it’s also not known what that will mean for you,” Karenbauer said. “If you protect yourself from one, it would be to your advantage.”

In an emailed statement, Kris Benkeser, director of student health services, added that she wants all students to understand that “my actions matter,” emphasizing the importance of protecting themselves and others by getting the flu shot.

“Each person who receives a flu vaccine reduces the threat of flu in the campus community and protects themselves and others,” Benkeser said.

Because the Health center cannot receive more shipments until they receive the most recent order, details of the next student clinic are unavailable as of press time. Students can contact the Health Center for more information at 724-738-2052.

A flu shot clinic will be available for university employees on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at the Alumni House. Employees must make an appointment through Human Resources by calling 724-738-2070.

Hannah is a senior secondary English education major and communication minor entering her third year on The Rocket staff and her second year as editor-in-chief. Previously, she served as assistant news editor and covered Student Government Association affairs. After graduation, she hopes to teach English, communications and journalism to high school students. Hannah has won numerous awards for her writing and design work with The Rocket and was named SRU's Student Leader of the Year in 2020. Outside of The Rocket, Hannah is also part of WSRU-TV, Sigma Tau Delta and the Honors College.

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Hannah Shumsky
Hannah is a senior secondary English education major and communication minor entering her third year on The Rocket staff and her second year as editor-in-chief. Previously, she served as assistant news editor and covered Student Government Association affairs. After graduation, she hopes to teach English, communications and journalism to high school students. Hannah has won numerous awards for her writing and design work with The Rocket and was named SRU's Student Leader of the Year in 2020. Outside of The Rocket, Hannah is also part of WSRU-TV, Sigma Tau Delta and the Honors College.

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