UNB Saint John has announced that its influenza immunization campaign is underway. The Student Health Centre is working with third-year UNB nursing students to administer free flu shots to all UNB students, staff, and faculty. Nursing students have been working hard to get the campaign started by debunking popular myths about influenza immunization and advertising clinic dates.
The program is to “create awareness [and] education, hoping that we can increase our vaccination numbers so that folks are getting immunized, therefore protecting themselves from influenza”, nurse practitioner Terry-Lynne King says.
How to get your vaccine
Students in residence were able to receive their shots from the comfort of their room. Vaccinations were distributed Tuesday to Thursday in all three residence buildings. October 29 is the first clinic for the greater UNB community and will take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the G. Forbes Athletic Centre. Following that, clinics will be held on November 4, 5, 12, 18, and 19 at the same time and location.
Appointments can be booked here.
Benefits for nursing students
Not only does this campaign work to keep the UNB community safe, but it also fosters growth in third-year nursing students as they are able to use their skills in a clinical setting.
“Being able to plan a flu clinic, administer influenza vaccinations, and evaluate a program certainly is helpful in their learning,” King notes.
Furthermore, King says there is a two-fold component. She highlights that not only are nursing students receiving experiential learning experiences, but they also get to educate their fellow UNB peers, which in turn helps students better understand influenza vaccines and their importance.
“Students tend to relate more if they’re [receiving] information from their peers. Peer-to-peer education is often more effective than, say, students receiving information from me,” King says.
What to expect
It is common to have localized redness at the injection site and soreness when using your arm. King says to help curb these effects, ice and Tylenol can be useful. Some may feel mild aches and pains and present with a small fever.
King wants to remind students that these side effects are “…our bodies starting to develop an immune response to the vaccine that we have received. So, these are good things,”.
King says the most common myth surrounding flu vaccination is “…people think it causes the flu and we know that that’s not the case”. Students are reminded that the influenza vaccine, much like the COVID-19 vaccine, is not a live virus, meaning that influenza is not in the vaccine itself.
UNBSJ students, staff, and faculty are reminded to bring their Medicare cards (if they have one) and to wear a short-sleeved shirt to make the vaccination process seamless.