Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Valpo is requiring students to get the flu vaccine. Recommended by the CDC, along with the Porter County Health Department, the flu vaccine requirement will help health care professionals on campus identify COVID-19 cases early, despite the similarity of symptoms between it and the flu. All students are required to receive the flu vaccine by Oct. 12, to be able to register for classes next semester.
In order to have all students comply with this requirement Valpo has used many social media tools to encourage students to receive their flu vaccine.
“We sent communication to students via email, we’re doing a social media campaign through the Student Health Center social media accounts … on Instagram, Twitter and on Facebook. And then the University social media accounts have been posting things, cross posting things, because we want to make sure,” said Associate Dean of Students Carrie Whittier.
However, this requirement is not limited to students.
“In addition,” Whittier added, “all faculty and staff are also being required to also get the flu shot, so everybody on campus should receive the flu shot by the end of October.”
The University has also had three Flu Clinics on campus. These Flu Clinics took place between Sep 17-21 and allowed any student interested to walk-in for their vaccination, no appointment necessary. They were located in The Community Room. At the first two clinics hosted, more than 200 students attended.
Students can make an appointment to receive their vaccine by going online and visiting Valpo’s Health Center page, by emailing The Student Health Center at email@example.com, or by calling the Student Health Center directly at (219) 464-5060 between 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Due to COVID-19 regulations, the Student Health Center will not be taking walk-in appointments.
All students will be required to receive the flu vaccine by Oct. 12, or a hold will be placed on their account and they will be ineligible to register for classes next semester. Those with religious or health exemptions to vaccinations are required to contact The Student Health Center and file those exemptions with the health care professionals there.
“We recognize that some students are nervous about getting the flu shot for multiple purposes. They have a fear of needles, or they are concerned about, potentially, some of the side-effects of getting the flu shot,” Whittier said. “I would recommend that those students set an appointment … and talk through those concerns with our staff at The Student Health Center, so that they can know and understand more information from our health care professionals on campus.”
Whittier also offered up her advice to those looking to make Valpo a safer place during the pandemic.
“There are a number of things that students can do as it relates to their own health… I think face masks will be a huge part of that this year. So, potentially, flu transmission will be lower because most everybody is wearing their face covering or face masks,” Whittier said. “But [also] getting appropriate amounts of sleep, eating properly … some physical exercise every day, those types of pieces are all the same recommendations that we would have just to keep people healthy both physically [and] mentally.”