Time to get your flu shot!

Madison College to offer free inoculations for students

As flu season draws ever nearer, Madison College is planning to increase vaccination rates on campus through a free flu shot clinic this October.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), annual vaccination is the best way to reduce the chances that an individual will contract influenza.  Unfortunately, on U.S. college campuses, on average just 24 percent percent of staff and full-time students will end up getting a flu shot.

Denise Holin is one of many hoping to make Madison College an exception this year. Holin, the Health Educator working with the GHC Madison College Community clinic staff, is hopeful that the free clinics will reach the goal of 50 percent immunization on campus (set by the American College Health Association).

“We provided 1,026 total shots in 2017, which was less than 20 percent of full-time students and staff eligible for the free vaccination,” Holin said.

This October, Madison College is offering free, walk-in flu shot clinics at Truax (Oct. 2, 10 and 11), as well as at South, Downtown and Commercial Avenue campuses in Madison (Oct. 16). Flu shots will be offered at the regional campuses as well. Staff will provide them at Fort Atkinson and Watertown on Oct. 3, and at Portage and Reedsburg campuses on Oct. 23.

These vaccinations will be available to all students with a OneCard taking degree-credit classes. Nursing, paramedic, EMS and healthcare receptionist students will be gaining firsthand clinical experiences by administering these inoculations alongside faculty, staff and GHC nurses and administrators.

“Students will be asked to fill out a brief authorization form and screening questionnaire before getting immunized,” Holin said. 

This includes the following questions:

• Do you have a current fever or illness?

• Have you ever had a serious reaction to a previous flu shot?

• Have you had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine, such as egg protein or thimerosal (preservative), following a previous dose of any influenza vaccine?

• Have you ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

• Is this your first influenza vaccine?  If so, you should wait 15 minutes afterwards.

Viruses, such as influenza, are known to hit college campuses particularly hard, Holin said. Constant exposure in closed areas, shared restrooms, and social activities are prime vectors for the flu.

Students, therefore, are well advised and incentivized to get vaccinated.  After all, a healthy student is a happy student.