Alex Heldrich, Reporter
Students and staff were able to receive flu shots on Oct. 9 at a walk-in clinic at the Pierce College Puyallup campus.
The clinic was organized by Kim Woolhouse, administrative assistant for the department of international education and member of Pierce’s wellness committee.
Students and staff over the age of 18 had to fill out a page of paperwork in order to get vaccinated. Underage students were required to have parental consent. The vaccine was free to most people with insurance, but for those without, the shot was $28.
Seattle Visiting Nurses Association, a nonprofit corporation that contracts with different facilities such as schools or businesses, sent one of their nurses to the Puyallup campus.
Linda Montgomery, a registered nurse, administered the vaccines.
“Getting vaccinated is so important because it prevents you from getting and spreading the flu,” Montgomery said.
There are two methods of flu vaccination available to the public: a shot or a nasal spray. The shot was the only method available to the students and staff of Pierce College.
“It’s an intramuscular injection that goes into the deltoid muscle,” Montgomery said. “The vaccine is also thimerosal-free.”
Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that’s sometimes added to vaccines. According to Centers for Disease and Prevention, many people believed that the mercury in thimerosal led to autism, causing vaccine manufacturers to remove the preservative from their products. A study conducted in 2010 by the CDC proved that there’s no connection between use of thimerosal and autism.
The point of getting vaccinated is to develop antibodies. That way when people come in contact with the live flu virus, their bodies can fight back immediately and keep them healthy.
The body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time and viruses are constantly changing so people need to be vaccinated yearly according to the CDC.
Flu season usually peaks in the winter but can occur earlier or later in the year.
“It’s good to get it early,” Woolhouse said.
College students interact closely with one another in both social and classroom environments. Becoming ill with the flu can cause students to miss class and get behind in coursework.
“A lot of the time college students still come to school sick and still try to do the best they can,” Woolhouse said. “The healthier you are, the better student you can be.”
Woolhouse said Pierce College has offered flu shot clinics to its students and faculty several times in the past, but the wellness committee wants to make the event annual.
According to the CDC, everyone should get vaccinated; especially young children, people older than 50, people who are immunodeficient and people who are pregnant during the flu season.
“I used to work for Group Health and I would get vaccinated because it was a part of protocol,” Woolhouse said. “Now I make my parents get flu shots because they are elderly and more susceptible.”
Those that missed the flu shot clinic can still be vaccinated. Most drugstores and pharmacies offer flu vaccinations and doctors also offer vaccinations of their own.
“I think it’s just nice to offer this (flu shot clinic) to people who otherwise might not get vaccinated,” Woolhouse said.
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