As influenza season approaches, it is crucial to receive a vaccination because the flu has symptoms similar to COVID-19.
The Health Science Association and University Marketing Association have partnered to host an on-campus, free flu clinic from 12–4 p.m. on Nov. 4 in The Den and Nov. 5 in the Alumni Building to allow students to receive the flu vaccine without worrying about transportation, time or cost.
The goal is for 1,000 students — roughly one-third of the student body — to get vaccinated. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to get a vaccination.
COVID-19 Increases Need
Dr. Amy Hicks, chair of the Division of Health Sciences and faculty advisor to the HSA, said the purpose of the flu clinic is to mitigate the number of students who contract the flu. Because the flu virus and COVID-19 display similar symptoms, those who contract the flu must be tested for COVID-19. Limiting the number of students in isolation in Reveal Hall is a top priority.
Many students don’t see the need to receive a flu shot. “Students are concerned that flu vaccines don’t work,” Hicks said. She explains that receiving a vaccine will reduce a patient’s chance of contracting it by 50%.
Education and Unification the Goal
The purpose of the flu clinic campaign is two-fold. From a health perspective, the goal of HSA vice president Nathan Stewart is to educate the student body on what goes into receiving a flu vaccine. “More than anything, I hope this clinic will unify us as a student body,” he said.
From a marketing perspective, the UMA and HSA wanted to highlight the importance of receiving the vaccine and make it easy to get one. To make it memorable, the organizations collaborated to develop the tagline “Fight the flu with your crew,” which will hopefully encourage students to get the flu shot with their friends.
The UMA also wants to make the experience more pleasant by creating “The Comfort Zone.” When students come to get their flu shot, they will be offered a freshly baked cookie by the culinary arts department and a carton of milk.
University Stands Out from Peers
Not only does the flu clinic allow students to receive the vaccination easily, but it also sets BJU apart from other universities. Hicks said most universities either fall into the category of requiring flu shots for all students or not making it a priority. She believes that BJU strikes a good balance between making it a priority without requiring it for students.
Hicks said that this also allows the University to create herd immunity to have a maximum impact on the safety of the campus.
Stewart said this campaign creates a way to highlight our faculty and their respective departments. Hicks, UMA advisor Dr. Adele Dunn and Dr. Robert Hucks, chair of the Division of Management, have all been integral to pulling the campaign together. “Their drive to help us as student leaders has really been (the) motivation as we’ve worked to make this campaign possible,” Stewart said.
Dr. Gary Weier, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, has also spearheaded this campaign because he sees the significance.
“Protecting the health of the entire campus community — including our faculty and staff — is a top priority so we can continue to provide our students outstanding educational experiences on campus,” said Weier. “I’m thankful for our student leaders and their faculty sponsors in these student organizations who’ve led through this project. I think it’s been a valuable experience for them, and I know it will benefit our campus community.”
As we continue to navigate the waters of COVID-19, do your part, get your flu shot and stay healthy.