Flu shots required for all students this year

Students have been required to get flu shots to prepare for the upcoming flu season. Collegian file photo.

JOE KRISKO | ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR | jkrisko@butler.edu

Monday, Oct. 5 was the last day for students to get their flu shot on campus at Hinkle Fieldhouse. In response to COVID-19, all students are required to get the current flu vaccination before Oct. 15. Those students who were not able to get their flu shot at Hinkle can schedule an appointment with health services or utilize an off-campus provider.

The three closest locations to get a flu shot near Butler’s campus are CVS Pharmacy, Walmart and Visiting Nurse Services at St. Francais, Inc. Students can make appointments ahead of time online or over the phone, but walk-ins are also commonly accepted at many locations. 

After receiving a flu shot off campus, students are required to send documentation, including an expiration date and lot number, to healthservices@butler.edu.

Flu shots are not always free, but they are usually fully covered by most insurance providers. Those going to get a shot should bring their insurance card, a mask and remember proper social distancing guidelines. 

A flu shot is a vaccination that causes antibodies to develop in the body to fight off viruses that are expected to be prevalent in the upcoming flu season. Because it takes two weeks for the antibodies to develop, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the shot before the end of October. 

Butler cited COVID-19 and an increased importance of limiting illnesses on campus as the reasoning for the requirement of this shot. The university said it hopes the flu shots will lessen the strain on campus and local health systems as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the local community and the world. 

Any student who does not get their shot by the Oct. 15 deadline will receive a hold on their account at the university. Holds typically prevent students from doing things such as receiving transcripts and diplomas or registering for new classes.

Huda Mahmood, a senior biology and chemistry major, said she thought the requirement was to keep people safe as many of the symptoms of COVID-19 may be similar to the flu in some cases. 

Mahmood got her shot on campus already and described what she found to be a relatively easy process. 

“I made an appointment through the online scheduling thing and just walked in,” Mahmood said. “They registered me and made sure that I filled out the daily screening and just sent me in to a nurse to get the shot and that was basically it.”

Rose Campbell, a professor of strategic communication at Butler, studies health communication. Campbell said the flu can present barriers to both student success and health. She said, even though it may be a burden, she thinks it is a good idea for students to get the shot.

“I think with your age group though — young adults and teens and college students — often you can feel invincible or you can have unrealistic optimism about your ability to thwart a threat like the flu and so I think it’s in the best interest of Butler to continue beating the drum on being safe,” Campbell said.

Mike Trombley, a lecturer of biological sciences, also said it was important for young people to get the shot to protect older people, or other individuals who might not be able to get the vaccine.

“It’s really up to the people who are healthy to protect the people that can’t get [flu shots]” Trombley said.

He said there is also a concern about people getting both COVID-19 and influenza at the same time. Steroid treatments that are used for COVID-19 patients could be harmful to those who also have influenza. This, combined with the extra burden of having more patients, could complicate the current pandemic response for healthcare providers.

“Influenza is something that affects somewhere between 40-50 million Americans every year, so you have that with a pandemic on top of it and it potentially could be a pretty big deal,” Trombley said.

More information about Influenza and flu shots can be found on the CDC’s website.

 

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