By: Kate Luce
Earlier this month, IU South Bend students were sent an email stating that a flu shot is required for students to be able to come on campus in the spring. IU is pushing for students to get vaccinated to brace for a flu season combined with a global pandemic.
“This is due to the fact that it takes a healthy individual approximately two weeks to develop full immunity from the flu. We are rapidly “coming up” on the typical start of flu season, so getting your shot now makes perfect sense! Another reason to get your shot now is to use your best time management skills and reduce costs for gas, etc., by getting your shot while you are still coming to campus for classes and other events (prior to going 100% remote.) Per IU policy, for those who plan to attend classes or come to campus after Nov. 20, the deadline is Dec. 1. For all others the deadline is Jan. 15,” Teri Dobrykowski, Director of Care Services of the Health and Wellness Center, said.
This requirement is not only for students but for staff and faculty as well. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine can help reduce the risk of getting the flu or having serious complications from the virus. As hospitals are nearing their full capacities due to the increase of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that getting the vaccine can help healthcare resources go for patients with the virus.
“It is especially important for everyone (even if you are planning to study or work from home this spring) to consider receiving a flu shot as soon as possible as so to lessen the likelihood of contracting COVID due to a weakened immune system (because of having the flu) and to reduce having both at the same time, which can greatly increase your chances of developing serious complications,” Dobrykowski said.
Students interested in getting a flu shot can get one on campus for free. IU has purchased the Health and Wellness Center 2,400 vaccines for students, faculty, and staff to get one for free. Students can do this by either coming to the Health and Wellness Center at 1960 Northside Boulevard, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Students can give the Health and Wellness Center a call at (574) 520-4343 to book an appointment.
Students can also get their vaccine at a doctor’s office or even a local pharmacy. However, if you get a vaccine through these avenues, it is required that you fill out the Flu Vaccine Reporting Form on One.IU.
While everyone is required to get a flu shot, IU is allowing some exceptions to students if unable to get the shot.
“Viable health reasons include known (documented) adverse events (serious allergic responses), previous neurologic complications from viral illnesses such as Gillian- Barre syndrome and documented, severe reactions to eggs. Other, non-health-related viable reasons include cultural or religious restrictions,” Dobrykowski said.
To give students in housing the chance to get their flu shot, the Health and Wellness Center has teamed up with housing to provide two “Flu-Palooza” events in the past weeks. Housing students were able to get vaccinated inside the Community Building.
“Bottom line: Please consider getting a flu shot now to prevent illness in yourself and others! You can contact the Health & Wellness Center at (574) 520-4343 for additional information and to make an appointment. We are here to help you,” Dobrykowski said.