The Collegian
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

UR students host third annual flu shot clinic

<p>Flu shot sign located by the Well-being Center on campus.&nbsp;</p>

Flu shot sign located by the Well-being Center on campus. 

University of Richmond students are hosting the third annual flu shot clinic on Oct. 6, 13 and 22. 

The clinic will be held in the Mind and Body Studio on the second floor of the Well-Being Center from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Flu shots are free for all UR students, and no appointment is needed, said senior Haley Gladden, one of the flu shot clinic coordinators. 

The October clinic is intended for students, and UR faculty and staff will be able to receive a flu shot at the annual Benefits Fair in November through Walgreens, Gladden wrote in an email to The Collegian.

“Students who are at a residential college like UR tend to have a lot of contact with other people in the dorms, in the dining hall, in their classes,” said Kathryn Jacobsen, an infectious disease epidemiologist and UR health studies professor. “That means they are more likely than the typical person to be exposed to the flu virus.”

The best way to prevent an outbreak of the flu on campus is to have as many people vaccinated as possible, Jacobsen said.

Seniors Nhyira Asamoah and Haley Gladden are this year’s lead coordinators of the flu shot clinic after volunteering at last year’s clinic. 

“I remember when Nhyira and I were volunteering at the time last year, and the line was out the door and down the stairs of the Wellness Center,” Gladden said.

Volunteers from the Instructive Visiting Nurses Association will be on campus to administer the flu shots to UR students. IVNA is a non-profit organization in Richmond that provides home health care and community wellness services.

The first student-run flu shot clinic at UR took place in 2020 and was organized by alumna Pamela Mulvaney, ‘20, as her senior capstone project for her health studies major. 

Mulvaney said that UR had always hosted flu shot clinics through the Student Health Center, but students had to pay for the flu shot out of pocket. Since the health center did not bill students’ insurance for the shot, students often went to pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens to receive the vaccine for free, or they would not get the shot at all, Mulvaney said.

“UR had so many different resources and things that they provided for students, and I didn’t understand why free flu shots couldn’t be one of them,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney’s goals were to reduce costs as a barrier to getting the flu shot and vaccinate as many people as possible against the flu, she said. 

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Mulvaney worked with the health center and IVNA in the summer of 2020 to organize the flu shot clinic. With the help of volunteers from UR Wellness Education Bandits on the day of the clinic, 700 UR students were vaccinated against the flu that year, she said.

In 2021, Sabrina Munro, ‘22, continued the student-run flu shot clinic. As a part of her health studies senior capstone project, Munro created a guide for younger students on how to continue the clinic. 

“I left behind the program so that people could elect students younger than them to continue the flu shot clinic,” Munro said. “It was important to me that [the flu shot clinic] was sustainable and ethical in that there was a fair and self-sustaining way for students to get the reins and run the clinic.” 

Around 500 UR students were vaccinated against the flu at the clinic in 2021, Munro said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots for everyone older than six months. 

Students interested in receiving a flu shot should email a completed vaccine consent form and a picture of their insurance card prior to their shot. Students should bring either a driver’s license or student ID to receive the shot.

Contact news writer Jane Montgomery at jane.montgomery@richmond.edu.

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