Damon Sims shares update on UHS demand, encourages students to get a flu shot

September 29, 2021

Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, shared the following update with Penn State students on Sept. 29 about the increased demand for student health services, and encouraged students to get a flu shot as soon as possible. 

Dear Students, 

It will surprise none of you to know that our University Health Services (UHS), like nearly every other health care operation in the country, is experiencing capacity issues that affect the usual wait time for patient appointments. UHS has long been accustomed to increased volume this time of year. Large numbers of students interacting with other students, both on and off campus, always produce greater demand for medical care. And when that increase is overlaid with UHS’s response to COVID, which includes testing and vaccination services, the operation’s capacity is burdened even more.

The good news is that most students can still be seen by UHS within a day, though some are having to wait as long as 48 hours to secure an appointment with a provider. The onset of flu season may only compound this challenge, so we ask your assistance by getting a flu shot as soon as you can. Here’s additional insight that should help you navigate University Health Services in the months ahead.

Scheduling an appointment

You may schedule an appointment at UHS through the myUHS portal. Limited same-day appointments are available, particularly if your need is acute. These same day appointments open 16-hours prior to the appointment. You should try to schedule these appointments early in the morning, since most are taken before noon.

COVID testing

If symptoms suggest that you may have COVID, schedule an appointment to be tested at the Health Center’s testing boxes as soon as possible. Same-day availability is still the norm for these appointments. And if you don’t have symptoms, but want to be tested all the same, please go to the testing site at the White Building.  

Nurse Advice Line

Our Nurse Advice Line (814-863-4463) is as available as available can be. Current students may access it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Any questions about your health issues or concerns, including advice about whether you actually need to see a clinician in-person, will be answered, so don’t hesitate to reach out. But don’t call the Nurse Advice Line if you have concerns about billing or your appointment schedule or anything other than an actual health question. Doing so only clogs an already busy system, slowing or preventing the meaningful service intended. For general questions related to appointments or billing, please call 814-863-0774.

Flu vaccination

Flu vaccination has never been more important than it is this year. The anticipated intersection of COVID and influenza this fall and winter could heighten our challenges, and most medical experts predict a potent flu season in the months ahead. The best thing all of us can do is get a flu shot as soon as possible. Students can schedule a flu vaccination anytime at University Health Services. Be alert for other flu shot opportunities, both at University Park or in your hometown.  

I am proud of the remarkable professionals at University Health Services, who’ve given their all through an extraordinarily difficult time. Their commitment to students’ well-being and success runs deep, and I know that commitment will be sustained through these ongoing challenges. Your patience and assistance will be deeply appreciated, too.  

Many thanks.

Damon Sims 

Vice President for Student Affairs

Last Updated September 29, 2021