Student pharmacists give out free flu shots


Flu season is upon us, and as college students, we should all be taking as many preventative measures as possible to avoid catching it. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, less than half of all college students in the country get vaccinated for the flu.
For this reason, ULM’s Operation Immunization, associated with the American Pharmacists Association, hosted a free flu clinic on Oct. 15, in the Student Union Building, where students could get free flu shots.
Overseeing the clinic were Operation Immunization co-chairs Rachel Pecora and Kayla Thibodeaux. They have held this free clinic every flu season for the past four years. The clinic is hosted through the Academy of Student Pharmacists, with a grant provided through ULM.
According to Pecora, a third year student of the professional pharmacy program, a lot of students also don’t get their flu shots because they simply believe that since they are young and have good immune systems, they won’t get sick. She said that being young and healthy is never a good excuse to skip out on your flu shot.
“The flu is actually a really hard disease,” Pecora said.
She said it can potentially be dangerous, and that it can lead to severe pneumonia and even hospitalization.
They host the clinic because there are far too many students who go without flu shots every year. Either they can’t find the time or can’t afford it, so the on-campus, free flu clinic eliminates both of those barriers.
There were five student volunteers from the pharmacy program administering vaccines at the clinic. Chloe Sealy, the vice president of Health Fairs, said she has volunteered at the flu clinic for all three years that she has been in the professional program. She said that getting vaccinated is especially important for college students because they spend a lot of time in close proximity to each other in dorms and classrooms.
“If one person gets it, it’s going to spread and everybody is going to get it,” Sealy said. “I think it’s definitely a good thing for college-aged kids to get vaccinated.”
Before getting vaccinated, however, students had to fill out some intake forms and a medical questionnaire asking if they were already sick. One of the students running the sign-in table was Kileigh Bethel, a second year student in the professional pharmacy program. She said that they had seen a few students come in that were already feeling a little sick, but thankfully nobody had gotten a fever yet.
Even if you are someone who rarely gets sick or has never had the flu, you should still get vaccinated, out of concern for others. Children, elderly, diabetics and people with immunodeficiency disorders are all highly susceptible to catching the flu.
“It protects everyone around you, not just yourself,” Bethel said.
She also said that it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become active in your body, so you should never wait until you are feeling sick to go get your flu shot.
Alexis Remondet, a sophomore atmospheric science major, was among the students getting their flu shots. She said that she thinks having annual clinics like this at colleges is a great idea.
“Always get your flu shot,” said Remondet. “It’s a great preventative measure.”