DURHAM, NH- The University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Health & Wellness held the first day of their annual flu clinic on Oct. 13 at Hamel Recreation Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The second flu clinic will be held on Oct. 21.
Health & Wellness is encouraging the UNH community to get their flu vaccinations.
“A yearly flu vaccination is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the seasonal flu and lessen the chance you will spread the flu to others,” according to an email sent out by Health & Wellness on Oct.11.
The flu vaccination is crucial on a college campus where there is always a high volume of people within given areas.
Health & Wellness Clinic Manager Mackenzie Johansmeyer said, “The best way to prevent something is to receive a vaccine. As we have seen with the spread of COVID in college aged-students; this is a population that spends time, large amounts together in classes, sports, and social gathering. They are often living in close residential housing. This allows for viruses to spread more easily and rapidly. Getting the flu could mean missed classes, schoolwork, and academic concerns.”
Alyssa Collette, a junior nursing major at UNH, believes it’s important for college students to receive their flu vaccine “because we’re all in pretty tight quarters, all using the same building and amenities which makes it a lot easier to pass along germs.”
It is even more important for those on a college campus to get their flu vaccine because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), “Flu outbreaks were limited in the 2020–2021 season due to widespread use of COVID-19 prevention measures like masks and social distancing. But flu viruses never went completely away. As COVID-19 prevention measures are relaxed, it’s just a matter of time before flu increases, bringing with it serious complications like pneumonia and heart attacks.”
“We’re really anticipating a bad flu season this year because of decreased immunity because everyone has been wearing masks and we haven’t been exposed to the things we normally would be. So that’s why we’re really encouraging it this year,” said clinical assistant professor of nursing Eileen Hollis. UNH nursing students are the ones to administer the flu vaccine at Health & Wellness’s yearly flu clinics. “They are required to have given an IM injection previously and receive training prior to administering the vaccine at the clinic,” according to Johansmeyer.
Georgia Hritz, a junior nursing major commented on working the clinic, “We did this last year too with the Covid vaccines, so although it’s highly recommended that we get experience working with these vaccines, it is totally volunteer. If we want to get some extra hours, want to help out in the community, it’s a great thing to do!”
“Something I try to stress with all my students is that this is kind of nursing’s role in history. It’s always been part of our role to administer vaccines and to educate our patients about vaccines. This is a really good chance for our students to get real world experience and it’s something different for them too,” said Hollis.
The second day of the flu clinic is Thursday, Oct. 21 on the third floor of the Hamel Recreation Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., open to UNH students, faculty and staff by appointment at MyHealth&Wellness.
“I think it’s so much easier for students, they don’t have to drive to Rite-Aid or Walgreens. I can just come to the gym. I was working out and then was like, ‘oh my god I can get my flu shot today, this is perfect!’” said senior Jessica Stern.
If students cannot make the clinic, they can go to their UNH Health & Wellness patient portal and make an appointment, call Health & Wellness, or walk into the clinic during open business hours.
Cover Photo: Nicole McCarthy, a junior nursing major prepares the flu vaccine.