With paper deadlines inching closer and midterms on the horizon, a perfectly healthy student making a trip to the health center might seem a bit pointless – but Student Health Services says it may be time to reconsider.
The Student Health Center will be administering flu vaccinations this week at the Memorial Union on Oct. 7, 8, and 9. The cost for vaccination is $20, regardless of SHIP enrollment.
The H1N1 vaccination will cost $10 regardless of SHIP enrollment, and either fee will be billed to the student’s account.
However, before the H1N1 vaccine is even available, Student Health Services is concerned with a potential lack of education or interest about the virus within the student population. A notable drop in attendance at seasonal flu vaccination clinics, paired with the fact that the availability of the vaccine to the UCD population is still weeks away has led some to fear that students will not take the threat seriously.
“College students think they’re invincible to getting ill…[but] they are at such risk with their close-quarters lifestyle,” said Maureen Greenhaggen, registered nurse and Patient Care Services Manager at the Student Health Center.
Although Davis will see the first of the vaccine midway through this month, the priority recipients will be infants and young children, by federal mandate. As soon as the vaccine becomes available to the larger population, Student Health Services plans to send out a mass e-mail notification, announce its availability on the campus website and post ads in The Aggie and around campus, according to Greenhaggen.
But when the H1N1 vaccine does arrive, some still might not be convinced enough to get it.
“[The] vaccination seems unnecessary…media-hype [has] blown it out of proportion,” asserts Leslie Liao, a sophomore managerial economics major.
Having contracted the virus while home abroad in Taipei, Taiwan, Liao experienced an atypically mild case of the virus, only suffering from a mild sore throat and sinus congestion.
“I didn’t think much of it…it was just like any other cold,” he said. “[It] wasn’t nearly as bad as people say it is.“
However, sophomore political science major Chantal Boctor disagrees.
In Las Vegas for a weekend in early August, Boctor woke up one morning with a sore throat. By the third day, she felt weak and it had become hard to move. Two days later, she was completely bed-ridden. And by the end of her two-week ordeal, Boctor had lost nearly 10 pounds off of her usual 112-pound frame.
Doctors had initially misdiagnosed her illness and prescribed amoxicillin, a drug similar to penicillin. Her father, a doctor in Egypt, insisted she get tested for H1N1. After receiving a positive test result, Boctor took daily doses of Tamiflu for less than a week and was soon back to normal.
“[Swine flu is] a bitch,” she said, urging students to “Get the vaccination if you can.“
As students wait for the H1N1 vaccine to become available, Greenhaggen suggests that they get their seasonal flu vaccination first.
“This is the quarter system…[if] you’re down for five to seven days…it’s hard to catch up,” Greenhaggen said.
KYLE SPORLEDER can be reached at email@example.com.