Health Center offers free flu vaccinations for staff and faculty

Elise Tinseth

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On Oct. 2, Health Center staff, with funding from the Human Resources Center, gave a free flu shot clinic to all staff and faculty members in hopes to make vaccination convenient and to encourage people to stay healthy during flu season.

Director of the Health Center Claudia Ness, along with other Health Center staff members, was at Cordiner Hall with vaccines ready for staff and faculty during their lunch hours. The flu shots are part of staff and faculty fringe benefits in their contracts.

“The clinic is very easy, convenient. The vaccine helps ensure that I can avoid absences because of illness,” said Professor of Environmental Studies and Geology Ellen Bishop, who visited the clinic for the first time this year.

The more people that get vaccinated, the less likely it is that there will be a flu outbreak. If one does happen, it will be less severe if you receive a vaccination, said Ness.

“We try to do this … to encourage them to do it, and if we have it all in one place it’s really centrally located for special faculty … it is just truly for convenience,” said Ness. “We have done that for many years. I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t promise that we will continue that, but I certainly will anticipate it.”

Flu shots will also be available for family members of staff and faculty for $25 a dose.

“The charge of $25 to family members and students is actually a pretty good bargain because most places will charge you more than that, plus, you have to actually go there,” said Ness.

Assistant Professor of Art History and Cultural Studies Lisa Uddin, a new faculty member at Whitman this year, was also attending the clinic for the first time.

“[The clinic was] convenient. I don’t have to figure out which pharmacy to go to. It’s nice, especially if you’re new to town like me,” said Uddin.

Vaccinations for students are not included in the clinic, but, along with other care, flu shots are available to anyone on campus at the Health Center for $25 a vaccine.

“I really want to encourage everybody on campus to get a flu shot because it really does make a difference in your ability to minimize the flu when you get it or make the whole thing go away,” said Ness.

According to Ness, there are few reasons to not get vaccinated for the flu, some of which are allergies to eggs or preservatives, or if you have had an allergic reaction to a vaccination in the past. Besides the shot, there are other safety measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of the flu.

“I encourage handwashing, handwashing and more handwashing,” said Ness. “[What] I would encourage [for] students, especially in residence halls and if you are living with more than a couple people is to clean the door knobs, faucets, cell phones, things that you are touching over and over and over.”

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