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Free vaccinations available ahead of flu season

Photo by Brandon Jordan The Frese Hall building where students can get their free flu shots.
Photo by Brandon Jordan
The Frese Hall building where students can get their free flu shots.

Sniffles, sneezes and coughs. The warning signs of the dreaded flu season.

Flu season starts in beginning of October and can last well into May, but usually peaks during the winter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s top health institute, reports five to 20 percent of Americans get the flu every year on average.

For Queens College students, they can go to the doctor to get a flu shot or decide to ignore it. But for those who do not want to get sick and seeking an alternative, there is an option—Queens College’s Health Service Center.

The Health Service Center, located at Frese Hall 310, offers free influenza vaccinations for all QC students.

Last month, the center administered 100 flu shots to students free of charge over two days. An email about vaccines was sent out to the student body during the first week of October.

Renee Wietschner, sophomore, was one of the 100 people to get a flu shot.

“The process was so quick and easy. Thanks QC for the convenience!” Wietschner said.

The center also provides various health education programs, assistance and referrals throughout the academic year.

Free measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations are scheduled for students and staff. Students can register for vaccinations using their CUNY ID number.

Moreover, blood pressure, height, weight, body fat index and eye exams are readily available on a walk-in basis. Other free walk-in services include first aid and nicotine replacement products.

All health records and consultations are confidential, just like at a doctor’s office, so students can feel comfortable about their privacy.

“Health Services sponsors monthly educational events, which focus on healthy lifestyles like stress reduction, diabetes, cancer, HIV, alcohol awareness, asthma as well as safer sex,” Terri Calhoun, a registered nurse, said. “We have a large variety of brand name condoms available free of charge so [students should] stop by.”

For those in need of health insurance, the center offers navigators available on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition, the center’s webpage offers various resources on topics like alcohol and drugs, eating disorder, emotional health and immunization.

Calhoun worked with CUNY for five years and worked as a registered nurse for nearly thirty. Based on her own experiences, she found her job pleasurable albeit with some obstacles.

“[Nursing] is a rewarding path and, while difficult, there will always be people to help,” Calhoun said.

The office is open throughout the week, Monday- Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sara Scheidlinger

Sara Scheidlinger is a freshman who is focusing her studies on the pre–med track and plans to minor in Journalism. She loves reading anything Harry Potter related and traveling abroad. In her spare time she blogs on the timesofisrael.com. You can reach her at sara[at]theknightnews.com.

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