For over twenty years, Health & Wellness has hosted a flu clinic on the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) campus for students, faculty, and staff. This year’s clinic looked a little different compared to years past due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The university alongside Health & Wellness put in place extra safety measures for those receiving and administering the vaccinations. The hope was that the UNH community would take advantage of this opportunity as another preventative measure for themselves and others during a global pandemic.
This year there were four clinic dates available and clinics were by appointment only on the third floor of Hamel Recreation Center. The four dates offered were, Oct. 14, Oct. 16, Oct. 19 and Oct. 21. This year’s clinic also offered extended hours that began at 8 a.m. and ended by 5 p.m. For students who were unable to attend one of the clinics, Health & Wellness is offering vaccinations by appointment in their facility for the remainder of the semester. Appointments can be made through the patient portal or by calling Health & Wellness.
Health & Wellness took every precaution necessary to protect attendees and those working the clinic. Everyone attending the clinic was required to have a negative COVID-19 test within the last seven days before their appointment. Registration tables had plexiglass barriers to protect the registration staff, as well as the attendees. Those attending were asked to swipe their university ID and were required to wear a mask throughout their visit. All staff were also required to wear a mask and those administering injections were required to wear eye protection as well. This year’s clinic offered no food or beverages in the waiting area and all chairs were accommodated to meet social distancing guidelines. Floor markings of six feet were marked with paw stickers to ensure 6-foot distancing while the clinic was open.
“Appointments were available every five minutes,” said Mackenzie Johansmeyer, a RN and BSN Clinic Manager. “The first clinic 986 appointments were made and 910 showed up to their appointments.”
Almost every year since the flu clinic started, UNH’s nursing students have been the ones administering the vaccines. Johansmeyer said that the nursing students have all been educated in the classroom and have had practical experience during their clinicals. All students administering the vaccine have given an intramuscular vaccine prior to the clinic and students are required to be signed off on the flu vaccine administration checklist by their nursing instructor. The flu vaccine administration is overseen by Health & Wellness RNs and the UNH Nursing department staff.
No matter where students, faculty, or staff get their flu vaccine, it is extremely important to take this preventative measure amidst a global pandemic.
“If you are diagnosed with the flu your immune system is weakened leaving you more at risk to contract other viruses such as COVID-19,” said Johansmeyer. “Patients requiring treatment for the flu that could have been prevented by vaccination may take up more of health care providers’ already strained time and resources.”
Health & Wellness advises that the flu vaccination is one preventative measure next to washing your hands, eating well, resting your body and hydrating.
“In collaboration with the Nursing department faculty and students and the Hamel Recreation staff, we have offered flu vaccine clinics in the fall for our campus community as part of our public health role,” said Kevin Charles, Executive Director of Health & Wellness. “It has always been important and successful; but this year we have ramped up the effort quite a bit, as it is essential that we maximize participation. As part of the university’s campus-wide work to manage the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, pursuing community-wide protection against the flu is a central goal to help minimize the impact.”
Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Staffanson