UHS encourages THON participants to get vaccinated Feb. 3

Children who are cancer survivors and may have weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to influenza. For this reason, University Health Services (UHS) will hold a free flu vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 in 205 Student Health Center on Penn State's University Park campus. While the clinic is open to all Penn State students and to student spouses covered by Penn State student health insurance plans, UHS especially encourages THON participants to get vaccinated.

Students who are dancing or working at THON and spending time with Four Diamonds kids at events leading up to THON should consider the safety of these children while deciding about their own vaccination. “Students involved in THON need to do the socially responsible thing and get vaccinated against flu to help protect the kids,” said UHS Director Margaret Spear.

“All three strains of influenza have been seen this spring at UHS,” said Shelley Haffner, UHS infection control nurse manager. Students who have not yet been vaccinated can still benefit from vaccination -- even if they have already been sick with the flu.

"Students can get the flu more than once, especially this season, because of the prevalence of all three flu strains here at Penn State. Getting sick with one strain will not give you immunity to the other two strains," Haffner said.

Based in part on last year’s H1N1 pandemic, the CDC has revised flu vaccine recommendations this year to include everyone over the age of 6 months, not just those at high risk for complications. Those at high risk for serious complications from the flu include pregnant women, individuals with a chronic medical condition (such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis or heart disease) or individuals who are immune-compromised.

Students can schedule appointments for the free flu clinic online at http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/myUHS or by calling the appointment line at 814-863-0774 during regular business hours. Walk-ins will also be accepted. Students who cannot attend the free clinic can schedule an appointment at an alternate time. However there is a $15 administration fee for appointments scheduled outside of the flu vaccine clinic. Penn State student health insurance plans will cover the administration fee if the received at UHS.

The free vaccine has been provided to UHS by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH). For additional information about avoiding the flu this season, visit the UHS website at http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/flu online.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011