Coronavirus News

‘It’s better to be safer’

On-campus flu shot clinic sees success after first day

By Emily Rossing, Clarion Correspondent

Crystal Walgreens Store Manager Bennett Larson and Pharmacist Kavitha Thomas hosted an on-campus flu shot clinic for the Bethel community Tuesday afternoon. The set up was simple, with Thomas giving the vaccines and Larson checking people in and verifying paperwork. The temporary clinic in the Eastlund Room on the second floor of the Barnes Academic Center included alcohol wipes, rubber gloves, pens and tiny vials containing the flu shots. 

Kristi Murchie, an adjunct professor and BUILD supervisor, received the vaccination. She said this year is especially important to get the flu shot because while there are so many unknowns with COVID, we know how to prevent the flu and should focus on that. 

“We need to take care of what we know we can control,” Murchie said.

Senior nursing student Amanda Ophoven said the shot is required to participate in her clinical hours, but she would still get it even if it weren’t. She believes it is a societal responsibility to protect ourselves and therefore indirectly protect each other from any form of virus, like the flu or COVID. 

“COVID is a serious problem,” she said. “It’s not like a hoax or anything.”

Bethel Director of Health Services Liz Miller made another point regarding the connection between the flu and coronavirus. 

“Getting a flu shot is even more crucial this year is to help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Miller said.  

A student signs up to get the next flu shot at a temporary clinic in the Eastlund Room at Bethel Tuesday.

While some let the pharmacist stick them with a needle as a sort of societal duty, others chose the shot simply for protection. Thomas Becknell, a professor of literature, said he has never received the flu shot until Tuesday. He is the 65-plus age group, which is known to be at a higher risk for COVID and other diseases, such as the flu. Both Becknell and his wife tried to get the shot at a HealthPartners clinic prior to Tuesday, but the clinic was out of the more concentrated strain of the vaccine used for older adults. 

In fact, health clinics across the state are seeing more demand for the flu shot this year, causing a shortage. Larson said the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta ultimately manufactures the vaccine, which is then distributed to clinics, such as Walgreens. Right now, it looks like demand exceeds the supply. 

Still, Kavitha Thomas, the pharmacist who has given flu shots for seven years and gave more than 70 Tuesday, said people should try to get the shot if they haven’t already.

“This year with COVID, it’s better to be safer,” Thomas said.

The flu shot clinic will be back on campus in the Eastlund Room the next two Tuesdays, Oct. 6 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments can be made online.

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