BY CJ GIBSON
As flu season hits the already COVID-cautious university community, the Student Health Center provided a touchless opportunity for students to receive free flu shots.
“We have always done [flu shot clinics] but this is the first year we’ve done a faculty/staff/student combined event, so we have more of them scheduled,” Student Health Center Director Lynn Adams said. “In the past, we would just show up at McMindes and set up a table and catch people as they come by or we would do [the flu shots] in the entry area there by Starbucks. And we would always do them in the Student Health Center if somebody went there.”
There will be one last session in the Memorial Union this season today from 2-5 p.m. Students can schedule their appointments through the Student Health section in TigerTracks or by going to https://fhsu.medicatconnect.com/.
While the Student Health Center usually provides flu shot stations spontaneously, at locations that have a large influx of students, this year the Student Health Center provided scheduled flu shot appointments in the Memorial Union to avoid spreading COVID-19.
In addition to masks, distancing, and sanitation, this is the first year that the flu vaccine process has gone completely paperless.
Adams said COVID has forced the health center to rethink a lot of the things they do, allowing them to modernize their approach to giving out flut shots.
“A year ago I never thought we would be doing telemedicine like we’re doing right now, but we’re doing telemedicine services, not for everything but for some things and it’s opened up, it made it more comfortable moving ahead with stuff because we had to,” he said. “And so we will certainly continue to do this, so all of our clinics that are scheduled for this year are no-touch.”
The flu vaccines are free to all students, regardless of health insurance status, but the Student Health Center asks for insurance information for reimbursements from plans that cover the cost.
As winter approaches, more students will come down with the flu and the common cold, both illnesses that have very similar symptoms to COVID-19. The flu vaccine is important in preventing at least one of those illnesses from affecting students.
“I think this year in particular it’s very important to get flu shots because the symptoms of influenza are identical to COVID, and if a person has been vaccinated for the flu, it’s easier to say this is probably a COVID illness,” Adams said.
While the opportunity to receive a flu shot in the Memorial Union is almost over, students can still schedule an appointment for a flu shot in the Student Health Center.
Other locations in Hays that provide flu shots are Dillons, Walgreens, and the Ellis County Health Center.