Receiving a flu vaccine from the UH Maui College Campus Health Center is just as easy as ever for students, staff and faculty of the college. However, the vaccine is no longer being offered to the general public due to financial challenges with in the Health Center.
Every UH Maui College student pays a health center fee of 8 dollars at the beginning of every semester, but unfortunately this is no longer enough to keep the flu shot clinics going for the public. The Health Center has obtained a grant from Family Planning Service that helps pay for their services such as family planning, STD testing and treatment, TB tests and various vaccines including the flu vaccine. So far they have been able to purchase 100 doses of the flu vaccine and have vaccinated about 20 people since the beginning of September.
Although going out into the community to give flu shots to the public can provide learning experiences for the nursing students, it involves the campus health center closing down for those periods of time. UH Maui College Campus Health Center Manager and APRN, Dr. Denise Cohen has to accompany the students when they are administering vaccines to the public. This means she can’t be there to keep the Health Center open during those times. Because the UHMC Students’ health is her main priority this was another factor that played into no longer offering flu shots to the public. “We should be about helping the students maximize their health, they are our main priority,” said Cohen.
Flu vaccines may no longer be offered to the public, but UH Maui College students, faculty and staff are highly encouraged to get vaccinated. As for the public, there are many other places where the flu vaccine can be obtained for an affordable price or for free. Any pharmacy or medical clinic will offer flu vaccines. The flu is often not taken as seriously as it should be; taking 9,000 to 36,000 lives in the United States alone every year. These are deaths that could be avoided if people were vaccinated and properly educated on the dangers of the flu.
Flu season runs from October 1 to May 31 with February being the time where most people are susceptible. There are certain people who are at a higher risk for the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. These people include people with asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, immune disorders, people over the age of 60 or under the age of five and pregnant women. Because the flu changes every year it is suggested that you get vaccinated every flu season to stay protected from new strains.
There are many myths about the flu vaccine. One of the biggest being that the flu vaccine can give you the flu. Dr. Cohen states that the flu shot cannot give you the flu because it is inactivated. “What it can do is cause an immune response, it’s your immune system that makes you feel sick, not the vaccination. If you really get sick and you’re diagnosed with flu then it probably means that you were either exposed before the flu shot had a chance to work or the flu shot wore off,” she said.
Some of the common symptoms of the flu are muscle aches, coughing, chills, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, congestion, running nose, sneezing, sore throat, nausea and headaches. These are only some of the common symptoms and don’t cover them all. If you suspect that you have the flu, please visit Dr. Cohen at the campus health center for free testing.
The UH Maui College Campus health center is open from 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 9:00 a.m. through 1:00pm on Mondays and Fridays. Flu shots are offered during all of these times and cost $25 for patients without insurance and are free for patients with accepted insurance. If you’d like more information on the flu vaccine or any of their other services their clinic number is (808)-984-3493. “Get your flu shot. We can give them here at the clinic,” said Cohen.