By Sophia Lopez, October 20 2021––
Starting Oct. 18, the University of Calgary’s Staff Wellness and Student Wellness Services are partnering to offer the U of C community free flu shots on campus until Oct. 28.
While getting the COVID-19 vaccine remains important, flu season is now approaching and in order to avoid the illness, it is recommended by the university to get the influenza vaccine.
Dr. James Dickinson, a professor of family medicine with the Cumming School of Medicine and head of the Alberta community influence surveillance program, reminds people that the influenza vaccine is not the same as the COVID-19 vaccine. He advises the community to still take the illness seriously and get vaccinated in order to reduce transmission.
“For most, the flu is an irritating virus that takes three or so days of our lives away. For others, though, the flu can be a very serious and sometimes deadly disease,” said Dickinson. “These are the people that we need to protect most, by reducing transmission.”
With this said, Dickinson does recommend receiving the influenza vaccine either 14 days before or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a statement, the university emphasized how important it is at this time to avoid influenza and keep those around us safe.
“Immunization is one of the best measures people can take to protect themselves as well as their friends and families against influenza (flu). As influenza spreads easily from person to person and can cause serious illness, hospitalization and death, getting a flu shot is important,” read the statement.
The university recommends visiting any of the campus locations where the flu clinic will be available, and that the quicker people can get vaccinated the better.
“The more campus community members (students, staff and faculty) that get immunized, the greater level of protection there will be for everyone,” the statement continued. “It is easy to book an appointment to get a free flu shot on campus. It’s free and fast at any of the campus locations.”
Influenza symptoms may be confused for COVID-19 symptoms, therefore the university is advising the campus community to maintain safe distancing practices and protocols.
“The campus community should also note, it is not possible to determine if you are ill from influenza or COVID-19 based on symptoms alone. Those who catch influenza will need to isolate and have a PCR test completed for COVID-19,” concluded the statement.
On Oct. 18 and 19, U of C’s flu clinic will be at the Foothills campus in the Health Research Innovation Centre Atrium. On Oct. 20 to 22, it will be on the main campus at the Rosza Centre, followed by the Spy Hill campus on Oct. 25, the engineering atrium on Oct. 26, the dining centre at the legacy suite on Oct. 28, and the downtown campus on Oct. 28.
Students, faculty, and staff are now able to book an appointment to get the influenza vaccine on campus. These appointments will be appropriately spaced out in order to maintain physical distancing.