As summer wraps up and the air becomes colder, the dreadful cold and flu season again comes to Alma. Luckily, the campus offers students the opportunity to get a flu vaccine at the Wilcox Health Center’s walk-up, no appointment flu vaccine clinic.
Students are welcome to come to the clinic on Sep. 27 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and Oct. 5 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Clinics will be held on the first floor of the Hogan Center, where students can receive the Sanofi Fluzone vaccine. The price of the vaccine will be billed to the student’s insurance card that is provided before the shot is administered.
Wilcox Medical Center will offer a clinic for the Monkeypox virus on September 19. The second dose will be offered in October.
“The benefits of receiving the annual influenza vaccine are reducing the risk of getting influenza, reducing the risk of hospitalization, and reducing the risk of influenza-related death. In addition, research has shown that the vaccine can reduce the severity of the illness,” said Anne Lambrecht, director of counseling, health, and wellness.
Many students on campus are interested in getting vaccines. However, many have not been informed about the upcoming clinics.
“I went to Walgreens for the flu shot this year, and I regret it. It took thirty minutes for my shot to be administered, and I felt that I could’ve better utilized my time by getting my shot on campus,” said Ryan Gray (’25).
“Now that I know that Alma gives flu shots to students, I’ll be getting one here. As a student who is highly involved with the campus, it’s hard to find time in my schedule to get my flu shot this year. Having this clinic on campus is very convenient for me and I wish more students knew that they could get their influenza shot on campus,” said Jon Beerbower (’24).
With many students in close contact in the dorms, disease and sickness quickly spread. Though some students still choose to wear masks around campus, most of the student body does not. Without this added protection, the chances of students contracting the flu increase significantly.
“The best way to stay healthy this year is by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, exercising, washing hands and taking the time to do things that make you happy,” said Dr. Keegan Thomas, family nurse practitioner at the Wilcox Health Center. “The Wilcox Health Center is here for students to help them when they are ill.”
Alongside the flu, students must not forget that the COVID virus is still spreading around Gratiot County. Unfortunately, at this moment, Alma College is not offering a COVID-19 booster clinic on campus. However, the college does encourage the student body to get the booster if eligible. Information on where to find facilities offering the COVID-19 booster shot can be found at alma.edu.
To mitigate the threat of COVID-19, if a student feels sick, they must not assume it is the flu. Getting tested for COVID-19 will help to ensure the safety of everyone in our campus community. Additionally, the COVID booster shot can help students avoid contracting the virus.
“COVID and influenza have similar symptoms. Therefore, the only way to tell the difference between influenza and COVID is by getting tested,” said Thomas.
If a student tests positive, safety precautions will occur like last year. Alma College details the procedures if a student tests positive at alma.edu.