Wellness Center offers flu vaccine to students

Last week students were given the opportunity to protect themselves against the flu, thanks to the Wellness Center.

On Thursday, Nov. 5, the Wellness Center made seasonal flu vaccinations available to students for a fee of $5.

According to Kathryn Hutchinson, executive director of Student Wellness, 200 doses of the flu shot were available and all 200 were dispensed to students.

The vaccinations were offered for one day.

The Wellness Center issued advertisements to encourage students to get vaccinated for the flu if they had not already. Hutchinson explained that the seasonal vaccine is in short supply in New York City, but if the supply becomes available, the Wellness Center would look into offering the vaccination again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for pregnant women, people between the ages of six-months and 24-years-old and people 25 to 64 with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart, kidney, neurologic and immune system disorders.

Although the seasonal flu vaccine was offered on campus, the H1N1 vaccine was not. In a letter Hutchinson wrote addressing parents, posted on the St. John’s Web site on Oct. 23, she stated, “It is not clear whether the H1N1 vaccine will be available on campus.”

Hutchinson also said that St. John’s remains in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene.

“All St. John’s students have been advised and repeatedly reminded of how to protect themselves from contracting the flu. In particular, we have stressed the importance of frequent handwashing with soap and water as a first line of defense; if that is not possible, we have advised them to use a hand sanitizer. They have also been told to avoid sharing toiletries, drinking glasses or any personal items, and to cough into a tissue, throw it away immediately and then wash their hands,” the letter reads.

Sophomore William Kenol said he has had the swine flu vaccine.

“I got vaccinated last month because I have asthma so I’m at high risk for contracting the swine flu,” he said. “I think St. John’s should offer the shot because the swine flu is serious. The shot is so simple. It takes two seconds and then you’re good.”

Senior Hadia Sheerazia said she would not get the swine flu vaccine because the side effects of it have not been seen yet.

“Because the vaccine is so new I’m concerned that there hasn’t been enough time see if it really works, but I have received the flu shot just as an extra precaution,” she said. “I think it’s great that St. John’s is offering the seasonal flu shot, but I think that if students want to get vaccinated for the swine flu they should do that independently.”