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Rutgers officials call on students to get flu shots amid pandemic

Anyone with a valid student identification card can make an appointment with Student Health to get a flu shot.  – Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Rutgers officials are calling on students to get flu shots this year, according to a University-wide email sent by Melodee Lasky, associate vice president for Student Health Services, and Vicente Gracias, vice president for Health Affairs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) always recommends getting an annual flu shot, but the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic makes it more important, they said, according to the email. 

“Flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, but they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses and hospitalizations on the health care system and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19,” they said, according to the email. “That is why we urge all of you to take advantage of the many opportunities to get your flu shot.”

Lasky and Gracias said the Student Immunizations and Health Requirements policy requires flu shots for all students who work with patients or who use materials that could spread infection, according to the email.

Students can visit the state’s flu webpage to find a location offering flu vaccines, which Lasky and Gracias said are available at pharmacies or through primary care providers, according to the email. Anyone with a valid Rutgers student identification card can also get vaccinated at Student Health with an appointment. 

The Daily Targum previously reported New Jersey officials have also been advocating for flu shots to help prevent a “twin-demic” of a severe flu season and resurgence of COVID-19.

Lasky and Gracias said flu shots are the best way to prevent the flu, reduce its symptoms and mitigate its spread, according to the email.

“Flu vaccination not only helps keep us individually well but also protects the most vulnerable in our communities,” they said, according to the email. “The CDC reinforces that the flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness and recommends that almost everyone six months and older receive the flu vaccine every year.”

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