Fall flu shots mandatory again for 5C students

Gloved hands put a Halloween bandaid on a person's arm.
By October 31st, 5C students will be required to be vaccinated against the flu. (Sasha Matthews• The Student Life)

As the Claremont trees begin to drop their leaves, 5C students will once again need to roll up their sleeves for a flu shot.

The 5Cs are requiring students to be vaccinated against the flu by Oct. 31, The Claremont Colleges Services spokesperson Laura Muna-Landa told TSL via email. The deadline to receive the shot is a month later than it was last year.

For graduate students at Keck Graduate Institute and Claremont Graduate University, the flu shot is not required. However, Muna-Landa said it is recommended.

Student Health Services will host flu shot clinics at each of the 5Cs in late October. 5C students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) will not have to pay for a vaccine at any SHS-affiliated appointment or event, Muna-Landa confirmed.

Outside of the upcoming clinics, students can request flu shot appointments at SHS by calling (909) 621-8222.

SHS recently hosted a 7C-wide flu vaccination event at TCCS’ Back to Your Future block party on Sept. 15, where they administered around 300 vaccines in partnership with CVS Pharmacies.

CVS bills students’ insurance companies, most of which cover the flu shot without a copay, Muna-Landa said. If necessary, students can pay any fees directly to CVS with cash.

Since SHS does not bill private insurance plans, students who are not on SHIP are charged $25 to their student account after a flu shot appointment. If students are unable to file a claim with their own insurance company, each 5C will provide a $10 subsidy to its students. The graduate schools, however, are not subsidizing the vaccine.

The CDC recommends vaccination for the flu by the end of October, since the illness’ activity often peaks in February but can continue until May. Flu shots take two weeks to become effective and generally last six months, although their provided immunity tends to wane over that period, according to data provided by the CDC. 

Students also planning on receiving their COVID-19 bivalent boosters from SHS can do so without worry, as the CDC confirmed that it is safe to get a flu shot at the same time as receiving a COVID-19 booster or vaccine.

Social distancing, mask wearing and other preventative measures kept the 2021-2022 flu season milder when compared to pre-pandemic trends. But experts warn that due to relaxed COVID-19 guidelines, flu shots are as important as ever this fall. 

“TCC undergraduate students reside in a congregate living setting (dormitories), making it paramount to have mass immunity to decrease the likelihood of an outbreak which could jeopardize the health of many individuals, not to mention the disruption to their academic success,” Muna-Landa said. “The combination of stress, lack of getting enough sleep and being around lots of people in a residential dorm setting can result in more frequent illnesses like the flu.” 

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