As flu season approaches, doctors urge students and faculty to get their flu shot to prevent commingling of sicknesses with the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is a possibility of people getting COVID and the flu at the same time,” said Sara Daso, a Kent CVS MinuteClinic nurse practitioner. “We want to keep everyone healthy and put less stress on our healthcare system.”
Flu shots are available at CVS MinuteClinics, and Daso recommends getting the vaccine prior to November 1, as it takes two weeks for it to build immunity.
For college students living in a congregate setting, getting the vaccine is important as sicknesses spread like wildfire, Daso said.
There is a high rate of community transmission of COVID-19 among ages 18-24, and the flu is spread through droplets similar to COVID-19.
Bridget Lutton, a junior nutrition major, said she gets her flu shot every year.
“I think everyone should get the vaccine,” she said. “It can better ensure safety for everyone, especially since there is not a COVID vaccine yet.”
According to the CDC, everyone 6 months or older should get vaccinated. Seniors, pregnant women, and those who are immunocompromised are at highest risk for the flu.
Based on a nationwide consumer survey conducted by CVS Health in July, 66% of participants said they plan to be vaccinated this year, compared to 49% who said they received the vaccine last year, Daso said.
A record number of vaccines are available, and right now CVS is fully stocked, Daso said.
CVS offers the FDA-approved quadrivalent influenza vaccine and the high dose option for seniors. They also provide the Flublok vaccine for those with egg allergies.
You can schedule your vaccine appointment online. Once you arrive at CVS you can wait in your car until you receive a call from the practitioner. They will ask you screening questions related to COVID-19, and then you are able to enter the store.
“People can feel safe coming into the store for their vaccine,” Daso said. “A disinfection process takes place between each patient, and everyone has a mask and gloves on.”
There is a myth that the flu can be contracted from the vaccine. The vaccine is made from deactivated viruses so there is no way for you to get the flu from it, Daso said.
The flu vaccine is covered by all insurances, including Medicare Part B.
“If you are uninsured, getting the vaccine is still beneficial as it is cheaper to get it than to end up in the hospital or pay for a sick visit,” Daso said.
Other ways to prevent spread of the flu includes wearing a mask, washing your hands and not touching your face.
You can also get your flu shot on campus, offered twice weekly in the annex at DeWeese Health Center. You must schedule an appointment; no walk-ins are allowed.
Megan Medfisch is a health and fitness reporter. Contact her at email@example.com.
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