(Seton Hill, Pa)- “As a reminder, all Seton Hill students engaged in on-campus classes or activities are required to be vaccinated against influenza by December 1 as part of the university’s Student Immunization Policy unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption,” wrote health services in an email sent to all SHU students on October 3. “Students will need to upload proof of their flu vaccination to Med+Proctor. Participating in an on-campus flu vaccine clinic offers a convenient way to meet the vaccine requirement.”
Seton Hill is one of the many campuses in America that is mandating not only the influenza vaccine but the COVID vaccine as well.
“Approximately 94% of the students who are on campus and attending in-person classes are fully vaccinated against COVID.” said Director of Health Services Annette Smiach.
The vaccine clinic is offering the influenza shot as well as the Pizer COVID shots and booster. Dates for the vaccine clinic and information can be found on the Seton Hill website under vaccine clinic.
“Accessibility is one of the biggest barriers to healthcare. It is essential that a university like Seton Hill continually provide vaccine clinics so that students have the access and ability to receive their vaccinations,” said Chloe Pohland. “As a nursing major, I am proud to attend a university that values the health and wellbeing of all people, as a community. We work together here to keep our community safe and healthy.”
“Both COVID-19 and Influenza Vaccines play a crucial role in limiting spread of the viruses and minimizing severe disease. Studies show that the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death, including against the Delta and other known variants. Vaccination also helps keep individuals from getting seriously ill and spreading the virus even if they do get COVID-19. By protecting yourself, you help to protect those around you including those who are not able to get vaccinated such as infants, young children, or people with compromised immune systems. Vaccination is an important tool that is necessary to achieve herd immunity and to end the pandemic. Influenza is the most frequent cause of death from a vaccine-preventable disease in the United States after COVID-19. Epidemiologists warn of a possible severe flu season; it is believed that the low number of influenza cases last season may lessen immunity and lead to increased severity this year. As we approach what experts are calling a potential “twindemic” of flu and COVID-19 cases, it is our responsibility as Setonians, to do our part to keep our campus community a safe place to learn, live, and work.” said Annette Smiach.
“Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged ≥ 6 months who do not have contraindications,” is written on the CDC website. ”Optimally, vaccination should occur before onset of influenza activity in the community. However, because timing of the onset, peak, and decline of influenza activity varies, the ideal time to start vaccinating cannot be predicted each season. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective,” the CDC website also states. “Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.”
“I feel strongly that being able to vaccinate significant portions of the population is an important step in protecting our most vulnerable populations. It has also allowed us to experience a more normal academic year with minimal disruptions from necessary quarantines,” said nursing program director Diane Kondas. “The science and research behind mRNA types of vaccines has been around for many years, and can date back even as far as the 1970s. There has been research into several diseases such as certain cancers and diabetes insipidus utilizing the concept of mRNA. The urgent needs of the Pandemic allowed for rapid production of mRNA vaccines due to the availability of funding and manpower which capitalized on the already existing knowledge and successes in this field of study.”
Fifty-two percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 65.9% are partially vaccinated. In the past twelve months, 46.8% of Americans received the influenza vaccine.
“Not a lot of people have cars to be able to drive to places to get their vaccine shots done,” wrote SHU student Deonte Ross. “I feel like it [the clinic] will save people a lot of money and time too.”
Written by: Ashley Grasinger