The Student Health Services is providing free flu vaccines to students and faculty members around various locations on campus throughout the fall 2021 semester.
SHS began the free flu shots this month and will keep offering them until Wednesday, Dec. 1. Students that receive their shot will be entered into a raffle for a $50 Beach Bucks gift card each week.
Getting a flu shot this year has held increased importance because influenza and COVID-19 virus share similar symptoms such as coughing, fever, body aches and fatigue, according to the CDC.
CSULB health educator, Allison Borwell said that both vaccinated and unvaccinated students should not assume their symptoms are due to the flu. She also recommends getting tested when flu symptoms start to develop.
“Halting the spread of influenza with or without a pandemic is paramount,” Borwell said. “We cannot stress the already exhausted healthcare system with increased hospitalizations.”
Heidi Girling, the coordinator for the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion, said that most COVID-19 testing sites are also offering flu screenings.
“This helps health care professionals rule out or find out that the symptoms are due to the flu instead of COVID-19 or vice versa,” she said.
Some health measures that have been taken to halt the spread of COVID-19 are hand hygiene, mask-wearing and reduced physical contact to help slow down the spread of the flu.
However, while Girling believed these health measures were effective, she also acknowledged how some people don’t take them seriously.
“We also know that some people aren’t engaging in these measures because ‘the pandemic is only affecting old people or sick people,’ or ‘they are vaccinated so they don’t have to do take these preventative measures,’” Girling said. “We still need to be vigilant to protect not only ourselves, but our community.”
Girling also added that a good amount of students have gotten their shots at either the health clinic, the flu vaccine pop-ups or off-campus at drug stores such as Target or CVS at no cost.
Eric White, a second-year film major got his flu shot at the Hillside dining hall’s vaccine pop-up so he “wouldn’t have to worry about confusing the flu symptoms for COVID-19.”
“If I don’t catch the flu then I won’t be worried about having COVID symptoms,” he said. “Just trying to cover all my bases.”