St. Thomas University is partnering with the University of New Brunswick’s Student Health Centre and UNB nursing students to provide on-campus flu shot clinics.
Maude Levesque, a second-year student got her flu shot at the J.B O’Keefe Fitness Centre on Oct. 13. She wanted the vaccine to protect herself and others, especially considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID is a bad thing. The flu is also a bad thing, and if you catch one then you’re more at risk to catch the other one because your immune system is [weaker],” she said.
Levesque said if she had to leave campus for her flu shot, she would procrastinate getting it. But since the clinic was on-campus and she could go after class, it was an easy step.
Amber Rae, a second-year student, got her flu shot at the same clinic as Levesque. She got vaccinated due to the large number of students who are back on campus.
“For a lot of us, it’s been a while since we’ve all been around this [number] of people every day,” said Rae. “It’s easy for things like COVID or the flu to transmit here, so this year I think it’s important to get [the influenza vaccine.]”
Like Levesque, Rae said COVID-19 made it more crucial to get vaccinated against influenza.
“It’s not even just for you to get a flu shot to make sure you are protected against it, but to do it for other people too,” said Rae. “I think we all have a responsibility to keep other people safe.”
Andrew Klein, an assistant professor in English at STU, hasn’t received his flu shot yet. He plans to get his shot on-campus and said getting vaccinated is important to protect the university population.
“Any one person who’s doing it is doing it for not just themselves, but for the community,” said Klein. “As universities are communities, it’s important that they offer healthcare services that help sustain this community.”
Klein said the on-campus clinic is convenient for him because he can go down after work. He said it’s helpful for faculty and students who have children since they can also take them there.
Ayub Chishti, a pharmacist and the manager of UNB’s campus pharmacy, said the influenza vaccine is valuable because it prevents deaths.
“Every year, between 2,000 to 8,000 Canadians die [of influenza],” said Chishti. “If it wasn’t for the vaccine, there would be a much higher rate.”
The campus pharmacy began seeing a rise in the number of people getting their flu shot last fall due to COVID-19, said Chishti. He said there’s a lot of people receiving their influenza shots who normally wouldn’t be there.
Chishti said on-campus clinics are valuable because they create peer influence, which can lead to more people getting vaccinated.
“If it’s within the vicinity of where you are and your friends are going, there’s an influence of other students,” said Chishti. “They can convince you to get it.”
Those who wish to get their flu shot can visit the UNB campus pharmacy every day between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., said Chishti. No appointments are needed and clinics will continue while supply is available from the Government of New Brunswick.
“It makes it more accessible for people,” said Rae. “I’m not from New Brunswick, so I wouldn’t really know where to go to get my flu shot here. It makes it easier for people who want to get it to have that opportunity.”