This flu season, the SRU Health Center is offering free flu shots to students through the “SRU Fights the Flu” campaign led by the HOPE Peer Educators.
Flu shots will be administered in the Health Center, and both appointments and walk-in visits are accepted. Since the Health Center is open 24/7, flu shots will be available at any time to students. A student ID is required when checking into the Health Center to get the flu shot.
“We want to minimize the barriers to students getting a flu shot, so we don’t want them to have to worry about making an appointment [or] being here at certain time,” Janet Flecker, certified nurse practitioner at the Health Center, said.
This flu season, the Health Center is offering the quadrivalent flu vaccine, which covers the same three viruses as traditional flu vaccines and an additional B virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the CDC, it takes roughly two weeks to build immunity to the flu vaccine, so the best time to get vaccinated is by the end of October, even though the flu shot can still be effective into January or later.
People who have an egg allergy or are ill are not encouraged to receive a flu shot. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition or stress can all lead to lower immune systems, which may impact college students, according to Flecker.
Last year, 40 percent of SRU students reported that they received the flu shot.
In order to encourage SRU students to become ‘flu fighters’, the HOPE Peer Educators are hosting a selfie contest with the hashtags #SRUFightstheFlu and #FluFighters.
“We’re asking you to take a selfie, kind of like if you would take a ‘I voted’ selfie and show off your sticker. Do the same, show off your Band-Aid,” Vanessa Vought, health educator at the Health Center, said.
By the end of the semester, a participant in the campaign will receive a “comfort” basket with and assortment of items.
“[The basket contains] something that you can wrap up in and feel glad you don’t have the flu,” Vought said.
In addition to the Health Center, local pharmacies, including Giant Eagle and Rite Aid, will administer flu shots with proof of insurance. The Student Health Center will also be at Healthfest on Oct. 17 to administer flu shots.