The Collegian
Sunday, October 25, 2020

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Current monthly positivity rate

UPDATED: IVNA offers UR students free flu shots

<p>Masked students line up outside of Robin's stadium to receive their annual flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic.&nbsp;</p>

Masked students line up outside of Robin's stadium to receive their annual flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Editor's Note: This piece was updated to include information about a future flu shot pop-up clinic at the end of October. 

The Instructive Visiting Nurse Association administered flu shots to University of Richmond students through a pop-up clinic at the E. Claiborne Robins Stadium on Oct. 1 and 2. The clinic was advertised through SpiderBytes, signs posted around campus and in a Sept. 24 email sent to all students by Dr. Lynne Deane, medical director of the Student Health Center.

Flu shots were administered on a walk-up basis and were completely free for students, Deane wrote in an email. IVNA billed insurance companies for the administration of vaccines and was responsible for any charges not covered by students’ health insurance, Deane wrote. This specific clinic was so popular that students were waiting for an hour to get their flu shot, sophomore Natalie Benham said. Benham was planning to get her flu shot through IVNA's clinic but decided against it when she heard about the wait time, she said.

IVNA is dedicated to providing care to uninsured and underinsured people in Richmond, according to its website. It offers wellness programs, such as worksite health screenings and immunization clinics, as well as charitable home care for home-bound patients, according to its website.

In a SpiderByte on Sept. 24, senior Pamela Mulvaney wrote that, by getting a flu shot through IVNA, students could help people in need receive home-care services.

Senior Meghan Murphy said she had never gotten a flu shot before. However, she decided to get one this year so she could ensure she is safe from the flu and will not be required to quarantine for symptoms unrelated to COVID-19, she said.

“My whole family, we’ve just never really gotten flu shots," Murphy said. "I just never really have gotten the flu. So I was like, ‘Why am I getting the flu shot every year?’ 

"But even this year my whole family is getting flu shots."

Murphy chose to get her flu shot through IVNA because it was through UR, she said. Also, the clinic was very convenient for people who live on campus, Murphy said.

“I think especially for the freshmen that don’t have cars, it’s really easy to get a flu shot [on campus through IVNA],” Murphy said.

Benham thought UR likely did not expect so many people to take advantage of the clinic, she said. 

"I think [the clinic was] definitely promoting getting a flu shot and staying healthy, which is good," Benham said. "But since they weren’t expecting that many people, it was hard to actually get one."

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Benham originally wanted to get her flu shot through the clinic because it was advertised as free, she said. However, she had very little availability during the times that the flu shots were being offered and could not wait in a long line, she said. 

Benham also expressed concern that students who do not have health insurance would not be able to get their flu shot this year because of the long line for the IVNA clinic.

“If someone doesn’t have health insurance, they can’t necessarily go to CVS because it’ll be too much money," Benham said. "Some people were leaving because it was taking too long, so I’m not sure if they would be able to get a shot somewhere else."

Benham said the clinic could have been improved if more times were offered for walk-up appointments.

Benham also expressed concern that students who do not have health insurance would not be able to get their flu shot this year because of the long line for the IVNA clinic.

“If someone doesn’t have health insurance, they can’t necessarily go to CVS because it’ll be too much money," Benham said. "Some people were leaving because it was taking too long, so I’m not sure if they would be able to get a shot somewhere else."

Benham said the clinic could have been improved if more times were offered for walk-up appointments.

Mulvaney also realized that the long lines were an issue. The clinic had to close early both days, and many people were leaving the line after realizing how long they had to wait, Mulvaney said. For future clinics, Mulvaney is planning to bring in more nurses to administer flu shots, she said.

“We didn’t know how many to expect whatsoever. And the amount of people that showed up far exceeded our expectations,” Mulvaney said.

A second clinic will occur on October 23 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the West Concourse of the Robins Stadium, Mulvaney said.

Contact international editor Susanna Getis at susanna.getis@richmond.edu.

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