By Joel Hall
Clayton State University Journalism Professor Randy Clark winced a little as he prepared to receive a flu shot on Wednesday at the James M. Baker University Center.
While not fond of injections, Clark has participated in CSU's fall flu-shot campaign for the last five years.
"As a college professor, getting the flu is an occupational hazard," he said. "When the students go home for the summer, they can pick up germs from all over the country, and all over the world even. I come here every year and its such a smooth operation."
Continuing a seven-year tradition, the university kicked off it's annual fall flu-shot initiative this week. Throughout September and into October, University Health Services (UHS) will offer the seasonal flu vaccine to the general public.
The shots will be available Monday through Friday at the UHS Clinic, located in Room 211 of the Clayton State Student Center, and at other campus sites. The cost is $15 for students, faculty, and staff, and $20 for the general public.
UHS Director Dr. Julia Spinolo said that, as of Wednesday, about 70 people had been vaccinated. She said UHS is starting a month early this year in order to build up the community's immunity to the seasonal flu virus, prior to possible vaccinations for the H1N1 (swine) flu virus, which are expected to be available to the public sometime in October.
"We definitely want to promote having a healthy campus," Spinolo said. "As far as the general public ... I feel that CSU provides Clayton County residents with a wonderful sense of community. That's why University Health Services opens its doors and offers the seasonal flu shot to our neighbors. We actually have several members of the general public, also known as our regulars, who come to UHS each year to receive their flu shots."
Spinolo said interest in the flu shot has increased dramatically this year, due to concerns about the H1N1 flu virus, which temporarily closed several schools this year. While UHS is currently only offering vaccinations for the seasonal flu, she said the shots are preparation for the battle ahead.
"The big time flu virus rears its head is October-November," Spinolo said. "The more people we get vaccinated now [for the seasonal flu], the more prepared we'll be for the H1N1, so we won't have people sick with H1N1 and seasonal flu."
Fay Rawlings, a senior marketing major at Clayton State, received a flu shot through the university's flu-shot campaign for the first time on Wednesday. She said the swine flu epidemic has raised awareness about flu vaccinations, and that CSU's campaign provided a convenient way to get regular flu shots.
"I'm already here [on campus] and it's pretty inexpensive," Rawlings said. "My father has been pretty adamant about getting a flu shot. I, especially, don't need to be sick. I have a lot to do."
Flu shots will be available in the University Health Services Clinic during normal business hours. The clinic is open on Mondays from 8 a.m., to 7 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m.; and Fridays from 8 a.m., to 2 p.m.
Shots will be available from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., in Room 233 of the Arts and Sciences Building on Mondays, and from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, in the James M. Baker University Center. For more information, call (678) 466-4940.