Free shots combat flu on campus

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November 3, 2009

3:29 AM

In response to growing concern about the spread of the seasonal influenza virus around campus this season, the Office of Health Education, the Student Health Center and the Student Assembly joined forces Wednesday to immunize hundreds of College of William and Mary students.

Approximately 200 students were immunized at the Sadler Center in Chesapeake A. The first 125 students received their shots for free, while those who arrived later were charged $20. A second clinic was held at the
Marshall-Wythe School of Law School, where the first 50 students to arrive received free shots.

The clinics are a product of the SA’s Continued Seasonal Influenza Prevention Act, sponsored by Sens. Eric Scalzo J.D.’11, Erik Houser ’10, Steven Nelson ’10, Ben Brown ’11 and Imad Matini ’11.

“So far we, the Student Assembly, have helped with the vaccination of over 1,000 students,” Matini said in an e-mail. “Overall the student showing was unbelievable. Shots were sold out within the first hour, with wait times being minimal. This is obviously a program that students feel is necessary and have been in favor of this service.”

Matini co-sponsored the original Seasonal Influenza Prevention Act, passed on Sept. 9. Another co-sponsor of that bill, Sen. Stef Felitto ’12, did not support this past week’s round of flu shots.

“[The Continued Seasonal Influenza Prevention Act] called for a referendum question at the end of the year to see if students would be willing to pay a fee to make this initiative more sustainable in the future, bringing free shots to campus — financed by that fee,” Felitto said in an e-mail. “This is one of the reasons why I was against this bill, [sic] if a student wants a shot they should just pay for it, [sic] or get it in some sort of free campaign like the one the SA offered rather than having every student support the relatively few students who would actually take the initiative to get vaccinated.”

The second version of the act allocated $3,500 from the Consolidated Reserve Fund to pay for the free shots offered Wednesday and Thursday.

“The turnout to these programs has been very good,” Felitto said. “I am aware that all of the 300 shots and then some were given away in the Sept. 9th campaign, and I believe that all the shots were given away this last Wednesday. Students are very receptive to these programs, especially with the heightened presence of the flu virus and flu awareness on campus.”

The only form of advertisement for the event was a campus-wide e-mail sent by SA President Sarah Rojas.

In total, the health center reported that approximately 1,500 flu shots have been administered this year. In last week’s clinics, about 200 flu shots were given.

“I am really happy that these clinics have gone this well, and hopefully it will help keep the students healthy here at the College,” Matini said. “It demonstrates that we as the Student Assembly can actually get things done for our fellow students.”

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