Students turn out for free flu shots

By on September 23, 2009

Each year, 36,000 people die from flu-related causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the media coverage of the H1N1 flu virus blanketed across the news, many people are taking precautionary measures to avoid getting the flu.

At Quinnipiac University, students, faculty and staff can get free flu shots. Kathy Macaione, the director of student health services, notes that Quinnipiac is the only school in Connecticut to offer free flu shots.

“[President] John Lahey really feels that it’s a very good program,” Macaione said. “We’ve been doing it for free for years. A couple of years ago, a few days after we did our clinic, [Associate Vice President for Facilities Administration] Joe Rubertone just happened to be at St. Joe’s [University] for a meeting and there were signs all over the place ‘Flu shots $30.'”

The flu shots are offered to the entire Quinnipiac community. This year, flu shots were first offered to residents in the Recreation Center.

“We never separated faculty, but this year because there’s so much hype about the H1N1 we thought the resident students were living in such close quarters,” Macaione said. “We thought we should limit it to them the first day and on Monday we will do it until vaccines exhaust.”

Students turned out in droves, as the line extended 30-people deep at one point.

“I always get the flu shot. Just in case,” Ben Chalfin, 20-year-old sophomore, said.

Zack Wiegland, a 19-year-old sophomore, wasn’t the only person behind his attendance at the clinic.

“I heard it through e-mail and my mother called me, ‘You have to get your flu shot!'” Wiegland said.

The shot being offered does not protect against the infamous H1N1 virus, though that didn’t seem to faze Chalfin.

“If I get it, I get it,” Chalfin said. “My doctors told me not to worry. I was just in the hospital with a throat infection, so H1N1 wouldn’t be anything.”

Students were ushered in to areas closed off by curtains to be administered their shot. Macaione offered kind words to those about to be administered the needle.

“You’re going to feel a pinch and a sting in that order,” Macaione said as she cleaned the student’s arm. “There’s the pinch.”

A quick stab was nothing for 20-year-old sophomore Jon Bozzuto.

“That wasn’t bad,” he said as the Band-Aid was applied to his upper arm. “I came on my own. I got the e-mail. I didn’t want to get the flu.”

“And that’s that,” Macaione said.

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The general manager and publisher of The Quinnipiac Chronicle.