College should provide free flu shots

By Lauren Kelly

In the face of a potential flu pandemic this fall, Columbia has made a concerted effort to inform students about flu preparedness and has taken preventative measures throughout the campus. This is a commendable effort that has helped the student population learn how to deal with both the seasonal flu virus and the swine flu. Young adults are one of the most at-risk groups to be affected by the H1N1 virus, and Columbia is helping students to be ready.

The Student Health Center is offering flu vaccinations for $25 each, but other colleges in the U.S. are providing shots free of cost. Because students already pay a $40 fee in their annual tuition for health services, they shouldn’t be charged for a regular seasonal flu shot. Columbia will also have H1N1 swine flu vaccinations available starting in the third week of October.

According to published results from CSL Ltd., the Australian company that pioneered H1N1 virus vaccines, between 75 percent and 96 percent of people who receive the shot should be protected from contracting the virus with one vaccination.

Because of these results, the Editorial Board of The Chronicle encourages each student get both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations to protect them this year from contracting the viruses.

To prevent the spread of the virus, the college has installed hand sanitizers and provided a list of clinics that have free seasonal flu shot days.

The college has done a great deal to inform students and provide preventative measures for contracting flu viruses, but should be doing more to help infected students find medical professionals and adequate care.

Although Columbia has taken action to prepare and inform students about the risks of the virus, there aren’t as many services to aid already infected students. The only advice the college advocates to control the spread of the virus is for students to stay at home and isolate themselves, except to get help from a health-care professional.

The Student Health Center is not prepared to deal with sick students, and is not doing enough to put students in contact with a doctor that can help, according to student reports. The center should be doing more to put students in touch with doctors that can give adequate care by giving students names and locations of potential doctor’s offices.