5C flu shot requirement looms Sept. 30

Two masked students talking together
5C students are required to get flu shots by the end of this month. (Natalie Bauer • The Student Life)

Whether you’re part of the Pfizer gang, team Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson crew, there’s another shot that needs your attention: Based on guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Claremont Colleges are requiring students to be vaccinated against the flu by the end of the month.

Student Health Services has been offering flu clinics to students, faculty and staff in the parking lot east of Honnold Mudd Library this week, including at Tuesday afternoon’s “Back to Your Future” student services open house. 

Those who haven’t already gotten the jab still have one more day to do so through the consortium — the clinic is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, with no appointments needed.

According to TCCS, the immunization is fully covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan, as well as Kaiser and most insurers. Otherwise, the cash price is $21, although the cost may be partially or fully subsidized. Students are asked to bring their insurance card and ID.

Public health experts say flu shots are especially important this year because the fall could bring a so-called “twindemic” — the rise of a rough flu season at the same time as the delta variant has boosted COVID-19 case counts nationwide.

“The truth is, we’re due for a flu pandemic. We have flu pandemics, on average, about every 10 years, so we are overdue,” UCHealth official Dr. Michelle Barron said in an August article from the health care system.

Owing largely to preventative measures like masking and physical distancing that slowed the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a record low in flu cases for the 2019-20 season. Although experts say a lack of exposure doesn’t necessarily make you more susceptible to the flu in later seasons, the public health implications of two hazardous viruses are worrying.

While the flu shot isn’t perfect, Barron said, it can still be very effective in cutting down on infections. And like the COVID-19 vaccines, it helps decrease the severity of infections and to keep those infected out of the hospital.

Anyone who’s held off on getting a COVID-19 vaccine can get it at the same time as their flu shot, according to UCHealth. 

Most people who get the flu shot can expect no side effects, according to LACDPH, “but it’s normal to have a sore arm, a low-grade fever, or body aches that last a day or two.” And no, the shot can’t give you the flu.

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