As flu season begins, so do free flu shot clinics offered by Dalhousie University’s Student Health & Wellness Centre.
The clinics start in October when Dal receives the flu vaccines. This year, the clinics will run from Oct 17 to Nov 8 around the Dalhousie and University of King’s College campuses.
In Nova Scotia, flu vaccinations are given for free through provincial public funding. Through the province, Dalhousie University is also able to provide free flu vaccinations to students and staff with either a Dalhousie Student Union Health Plan card, a provincial health care card, or private health insurance. Anyone without health care coverage does have to pay a $20 injection fee in cash.
The vaccinations are also available at the Student Health & Wellness Centre.
Christina Elgee, Manager of Nursing and Student Wellness Outreach, said in an email that Dal offers the flu shot clinics in order to make the vaccinations more accessible to students, particularly for students who may not have time to get to the Student Health & Wellness Centre between classes.
Each year, the mobile clinics give around 1500 vaccinations. Adding in the vaccinations that are given at the Student Health & Wellness Centre, Elgee estimates that they give easily over 2000 vaccinations in total.
According to Elgee, getting the flu shot is not just about protecting yourself, but also the more vulnerable people around you.
“The big factor here is that for healthy young university students, you’re not just preventing yourself from getting sick (which can be crappy to miss school or social engagements,) you’re also protecting your grandmother, babies, and others around you who might share spaces [with those] who have compromised immune systems and can’t get the shot. For many the flu is just a crappy week with diarrhea, but for others it can be life or death,” she said.
She recommends that everyone gets a flu shot annually, since new flu strains appear each year.
For Abdullah Alharthi, a Dalhousie student, the flu shot is a must.
“I have a sensitive immune system and I have to get it,” he said.
Alharthi thinks that Dal’s flu shot clinics are helpful for students who want to be vaccinated.
“I think it’s a good chance to get it and to provide it to people here. Especially students where they sometimes have difficulty to get it without help from the institute they are in.”
Carly Corkum, a former Dalhousie student who now works at Dalhousie’s Office of Advancement, got her first flu vaccination in four years at one of Dal’s flu shot clinics.
“I had mono this year, so I’ve been kind of catching every cold that’s come along and every type of illness you could possibly get, so I just really wanted to make sure I didn’t get the flu,” she said.
For her, the flu shot clinic was a convenient way to get it.
“Literally my office is right across the street, so I just came over on my lunch break, and yeah, it’s perfect.”