As the sniffles of flu season approach, Goshen College is looking to combat sickness.During the month of October, Goshen College is providing flu shots to students and employees on campus in the Koinonia Room in the Church-Chapel every Monday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
While this is not the first flu shot clinic Goshen College has hosted, it is as important as ever to get a shot, according to Kevin Miller, lead campus contact tracer and Pandemic Task Force coordinator.
“We’re encouraging everyone to get a flu shot this fall to prevent flu cases. Both flu and COVID-19 share some symptoms, and we want to keep people healthy by avoiding the flu,” Miller said. “We want to help people prevent a potential double whammy of simultaneous flu and [the coronavirus], as well as decrease unnecessary COVID-19 testing and anxiety.”
Though a flu shot is strongly encouraged, it is not required.
There are other ways in which the protection from COVID-19 could help with the flu season this year.
In a report published by Scientific American on Sept. 30, it was found that the southern hemisphere has experienced lower levels of influenza this most recent flu season unlike in the past, and it is thought to be because of the safety guidelines for the pandemic.
The rate in which people tested positive for flu in weekly tests during the southern hemisphere’s flu season, which runs from May to October, was one-tenth of 1%. Most years that rate is closer to five or 10%.
In the U.S., the CDC found the levels to be low as well since the beginning of the lockdown in March, a historic decrease in flu cases during the same time period from over 20% to just over 2%.
Miller acknowledges that the same could be true for people on campus this fall with all the guidelines in place to help with reducing the spread of COVID-19.
“Having the vast majority of campus immunized against the flu will certainly help all of us stay healthier this year,” Miller said. “Our Big Four practices are in place to help us prevent the spread of COVID-19, but a huge bonus is that we will likely also enjoy much less spread of colds and flu through the practices of handwashing, mask wearing, keeping our distance and paying attention to symptoms.”
To get a flu shot at the clinic, those on campus must fill out two forms before arriving. The first form is a pre-registration form that asks you basic questions, such as name, email, date of birth and whether you are a current Goshen Family Physicians patient or not. It also requires you to post a picture of your driver’s license and a copy of your health insurance card, if you have one.
The second form is for scheduling a day to go and actually getting a shot, as they do not take walk-in patients.
For students, faculty and staff who cannot find time to visit the flu shot clinic hours, there are other options out there to get a flu shot.
Goshen Health is offering one more flu shot clinic of their own on Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Goshen Physicians Family Medicine’s Pro Park. No prior registry is required, but you must show up with a photo ID and insurance information.
The shot is free with most insurance plans but you can also pay out of pocket as well. The Center for Healing and Hope is providing flu vaccines for free for those without insurance. The CVS pharmacy is also providing flu shots, free with most insurance plans, although out-of-pocket payment is available as well.
You can find more information about the on-campus flu clinic as well as links to the websites of other options to get a flu shot in the COVID-19 information section of goshen.edu.