Olivia Nelson | Mustang News

Cal Poly Health Services is hosting flu shot “pop-ups” to administer free flu vaccinations to Cal Poly students.

The next “pop-up” will be held on Oct. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. as part of Health Services’ efforts to increase accessibility for students, according to Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Health and Wellbeing Tina Hadaway-Mellis.

Students do not need any paperwork, but should come equipped with their student ID.

“You guys are busy, your time is very valuable,” Hadaway-Mellis said. “From a convenience factor, we want to meet you where you are and see if it works.”

Annual flu vaccinations are recommended before the end of October, as the flu tends to spread more rapidly during peak months, from December to February. Health Services will offer vaccinations through November, but might extend the program depending on the severity of the flu season.

“Especially for our on-campus constituents, housing is dense — two to three people to a room. It’s always best to be proactive,” Hadaway-Mellis said.

Campus Health & Wellbeing is piloting the program with funding from the Health Services Fee in the hopes of incentivizing students to get vaccinated, Hadaway-Mellis said. The first 2018 pop-up clinic resulted in 184 vaccinations, in comparison to the 17 vaccinations from the first 2017 clinic.

“So far, flu shots have been effective for me, but I know there’s many strains of the virus,” psychology junior Brittany Lacilento said. “I still think it’s best to get it so people can protect themselves from contracting it and passing it to others.”

Despite high rates of influenza in the U.S., vaccination rates among college students are relatively low. According to the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, less than half — 46 percent — of college students say they receive an annual vaccination.

“I don’t believe the flu shot is very effective. Research varies, but some studies have shown it’s not at all effective,” biological sciences junior Hannah Barta said. “I personally don’t believe it’s super helpful, but I do appreciate that Health Services offers the vaccine for free.”

For individuals interested in receiving a vaccination, but cannot attend the pop-up clinic, Health Services will offer vaccinations during regular nursing hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“We’d like to continue doing something like this in the future, depending on the response rate,” Hadaway-Mellis said. “Most importantly, it’s about keeping students safe.”

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