College students fail to be vaccinated

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College students fail to be vaccinated

Pharmacist Donna L. administers a flu shot Jan. 18, 2018, at a Walgreens in New Orleans. Doctors and pharmacist can give the flu shot. SOFIA SAMAYOA/The Maroon.

Pharmacist Donna L. administers a flu shot Jan. 18, 2018, at a Walgreens in New Orleans. Doctors and pharmacist can give the flu shot. SOFIA SAMAYOA/The Maroon.

Pharmacist Donna L. administers a flu shot Jan. 18, 2018, at a Walgreens in New Orleans. Doctors and pharmacist can give the flu shot. SOFIA SAMAYOA/The Maroon.

Pharmacist Donna L. administers a flu shot Jan. 18, 2018, at a Walgreens in New Orleans. Doctors and pharmacist can give the flu shot. SOFIA SAMAYOA/The Maroon.

Tyler Wann

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College students are failing to make the grade when it comes to being vaccinated for the flu, with less than half of students on college campus getting vaccinated.

According to a 2017 survey done by the National Foundation for Infectious Disease, although 70 percent of students think being vaccinated is important, the rates for vaccination on campuses hover between 8 and 39 percent. Their reasons for this ranged from thinking the vaccine doesn’t work, to thinking that they’re just too healthy to get sick.

Atlanta Doctor Terry Banks has heard it all before.

“I think it’s a serious problem. But at the core of it, it’s a problem of education,” said Banks.

She said that once they get to college, many students won’t see another doctor until something is already wrong.

“We don’t get that opportunity to go after them and educate them about flu shots. I think that’s why you have that big difference when comes to college students and the rest of the population,” she said.

Banks said that college students may actually be at a higher risk of infection than the average population.

“(College students) are more in contact than anybody else because they’re staying in the dorms. A lot of dorms have community restrooms. You’re sharing the restroom with a whole hall of people,” she said. “Why risk getting the flu?”

Though she said, while the vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the disease, students should also wash their hands, and to be mindful of common areas.

“Watch the other guy,” said Banks.

According to the survey, many students skipped out on the vaccine because they felt as if they were healthy enough to not need it, and that they didn’t usually get sick. Banks said she likes to tell her patients to “never say never.”

Loyola junior Rhon Ridgeway, who works for The Maroon, said that she was one of those students before a case of the flu sent her to the hospital for a weekend.

“On Wednesday I was feeling really weird, I had a runny nose and a cough. By Thursday night, I had the chills and I couldn’t get out of bed,” said Ridgeway.

By Saturday, she was checking herself into the hospital, where she said she stayed until Sunday night.

She said that although she usually gets the shot, she had decided to skip out on it this year.

“I wasn’t planning on getting it this year because I never get the flu,” said Ridgeway. “After that, I think I’m going to start getting the flu shot, just to be on the safer side. Because that was a really painful experience.”

One way to avoid this situation that both the survey and Dr. Banks mentioned was to provide incentives to students, whether that be free food, gift cards, etc., with 61 percent of people surveyed saying they believe it would help incentivize people to go.

“The school has to take the lead,” said Banks.

Loyola University is putting that information to use this coming flu season. According to Clinical Operations Coordinator Dr. Amie Cardinal, students will be given a flu shot for free for students who have an insurance card, and a bag of “goodies” will be provided to anyone who receives the shot.

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