All University of Tennessee students, faculty and staff should be vaccinated for the flu this school year. The emergency decision was approved in June by the university’s Board of Trustees. Here’s some information to help you get ready for flu season.
Who needs the vaccine?
The Center for Disease Control advises receiving the vaccine to help reduce strain on the healthcare systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s recommended everyone six months and older should be vaccinated. Especially those with high risk conditions like asthma, heart disease and cancer. There are several different flu vaccines available that doctors may use depending on the age and health of the patient.
When to get vaccinated?
Typically, flu season starts in mid-fall and usually lasts through the winter months. Early vaccination is key for the best results since it takes two weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body. Dr. William Kormos of Harvard Medical School advises the ideal time to receive the vaccine is in October.
Where to get vaccinated?
The University of Tennessee will be hosting flu clinics on Oct. 1, Oct. 20 and Nov. 12 at select locations on campus. You must register for a timeslot. Patients need to bring a completed vaccine administration record, health insurance card and prescription insurance card.
For those interested in off-campus locations, there are several opportunities. The Knox County Health Department will be setting up flu clinics across the county through October. There is no registration necessary.
How much does the vaccine cost?
Most flu shots are free with insurance. Check with your insurance company to understand your coverage. If you don’t have insurance there are opportunities to get vaccinated for free, like KCHD, or at a reasonable cost.
Be sure to call the vaccine location to verify any costs before arriving.
What other preventive measures are there?
Experts say the vaccine is the best defense against the flu. However, there are other ways to stay healthy. The CDC advises washing your hands often, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and avoiding close contact with others.
Is there a COVID-19 vaccine available?
Currently, no. However, there are several clinical trials in phase three of the process, including AstraZeneca, who will enroll 30,000 volunteers in the U.S. to see if the candidate vaccine can be effective against COVID-19. In a statement last week Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, suggested a vaccine could potentially be ready by November or December.
According to UT System guidelines, COVID-19 vaccines will be a requirement if deemed safe by the CDC and Tennessee Department of Health. There are vaccine exemptions available for medical, religious or other reasons.
Continue visiting UTK’s COVID-19 Information and Support page for up-to-date health requirements.
Edited by Gracie-Lee Strange and Maddie Torres
Featured Photo courtesy of Creative Commons