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Saint Mary’s encourages students to receive vaccination at Sunday’s Flu Fest

| Friday, September 25, 2020

Saint Mary’s will be hosting an outdoor Flu Fest and Blood Drive on Sunday at the lacrosse fields from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Though students can no longer reserve a shot, walk-ins are still accepted. The College is incentivizing students to attend with free food, games and prizes.

A Wednesday email from Cynthia Horton-Cavanaugh, the interim director of Health and Counseling, said more than 500 students signed up to get their flu shot at the Fest.

“All Saint Mary’s students who attend classes on campus are strongly encouraged to take part in this event,” she said in the email. “Bring your insurance card and we can bill your insurance for you. Otherwise we will bill the $20 vaccination fee to your student account. If you do not have insurance, the flu shot will be covered by the Emergency Fund.”

 Katie Knisely, assistant athletic trainer and healthcare administrator at Saint Mary’s, noted the importance of receiving a flu shot this year.

“Now since the temperature is starting to drop, people will most likely be spending extra time inside of buildings in a confined area with more people and at a greater risk of exposure,” she said.

This year’s vaccination has been designed to fight against four different flu viruses, an email from the College said. Knisley said the flu shot can lower one’s risk of getting the flu or other related infections.

“Getting the flu shot could help decrease the chances of getting the flu and help prevent co-infections,” she said.

Saint Mary’s is working to make the flu vaccine easily accessible through the fest, Knisley said, and The Observer has found many students are planning on attending Sunday’s Flu Fest.

Sophomore Kathleen McLeod said she is getting a shot to protect her family and friends from getting sick.

“The decision to get [my flu shot] this year was a no brainer,” she said. “I would never want to be responsible for giving the flu to a friend or family member and get them really sick.” 

Senior JoAnna Keilman  said she wants to maintain her health during the pandemic.

“Honestly, I have not gotten my flu shot since I have been in college, and it did not affect me until I got the flu in February,” she said. “I want to take every precaution to stay healthy during this time, especially so we can stay on campus.”

Sophomore Lauren Lambros said bringing any virus home is not an option.

“My mom has a compromised immune system, so getting vaccinated has always been super important to me just to protect not only my own immune system but hers as well,” she said. “Now with COVID, having a strong immune system is more important than ever to protect ourselves and the members of our SMC community who are immunocompromised.”

The first one hundred students who signed up to get their shots will received a free t-shirt from the College. Those attending the event are encouraged to wear short sleeves for easy access to the recipient’s vaccine administration location.

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