Some students don’t get vaccinated for flu season
BY MANDEEP CHAUHAN, CONTRIBUTOR
DANIELLE DOIRON, SPORTS & LIFESTYLE EDITOR
It’s getting a little colder, stores are putting up Christmas decorations and pharmacies are giving out flu shots.
The flu is short for influenza, an infection caused by the influenza virus. The virus is passed on from person to person through coughing, sneezing and sharing food or drinks with someone who’s sick. To prevent the flu, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority recommends frequent, thorough hand washing and getting the flu shot, a free vaccination available at doctor’s offices, pharmacies and walk-in clinics.
“By getting immunized, you’re less likely to spread infection,” WRHA spokesperson Jennifer Jularbal said in an email. “Even if you feel well, you may be infected and not show symptoms, and you can end up spreading the virus to family and friends who are at a high risk of infection, such as the very young, pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions.”
While all Manitobans are eligible for the vaccine, the WRHA said it’s most important for people with weaker immune systems like seniors, young children, people with chronic illnesses and health care workers.
The WRHA doesn’t have specific guidelines for students, but many nursing students aren’t required to get the flu shot to protect themselves and their patients from what can be a deadly virus.
Angel Biladeau is a nursing student at Assiniboine Community College. She’s done two practicums in nursing homes, where she practiced administering flu shots. Even with all that needle experience, she doesn’t plan to get one this year.
“I didn’t get one, and I normally don’t,” she said. “We don’t have to get them, but we have to get up-to-date immunizations to even get into the program.”
For her final practicum, Biladeau will directly interact with patients by administering IVs and medications and assisting with blood transfusions and other procedures. But despite coming into close contact with vulnerable patients, she said she isn’t concerned about spreading or catching the virus.
“I’m not too worried,” she said. “I don’t think it’s necessary if you wash your hands and follow the rules.”
There’s still one more free flu shot clinic from RRC at the Language Training Centre. It’s on Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in room 410.