During the winter months, sneezes and coughs are a common occurrence in university classes. Exam season is stressful enough for students without the added burden of studying while ill. The influenza virus, the most severe of these seasonal ailments, is also ironically the most preventable. In fact, a free vaccine is available for students who act quickly.
Each year, experts identify the three most probable strains of the virus and create a vaccine. Unfortunately, annual flu shots are not 100 per cent effective as rare strains can sometimes creep into the population. Vaccinations do, however, greatly reduce one’s chances of catching and spreading the flu.
Although horribly annoying, most university students can survive even the worst cases of influenza. A young adult’s main incentive to vaccinate themselves is to protect the health of others, especially since the virus is typically spread before the onset of symptoms.
Children under the age of five, the elderly and those with suppressed immune systems (transplant and chemotherapy patients) are at a much greater risk of dying from influenza. As such, protecting oneself from the flu can serve to protect the community as a whole.
Students who haven’t yet been vaccinated can visit the Student Health center this week for a free flu shot. The free vaccine is available on Wednesday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
An appointment is not necessary, but staff are asking students to remember their Medicare and immunization cards. International Health Cards are required for international students.
Flu vaccines are also available at various pharmacies throughout the city (such as Shopper’s Drug Mart) but can cost up to $21.49 plus tax. For students on a budget, the UNB Saint John Student Health Centre is a much better option.
For additional information about vaccine ingredients and other medical concerns, UNB Saint John’s Health Centre can be reached at (506) 648-5656 or by email, at email@example.com