Pharmacy students help prepare for flu season

Posted on Sep 19 2016 - 7:11pm by Annie Mapp
Jenny Tran prepares a flu vaccination for fellow pharmacy students to give at the Grove. (Photo By Aleea Burge)

Jenny Tran prepares a flu vaccination for fellow pharmacy students to give at the Grove. (Photo By Aleea Burge)

Students at the university’s school of pharmacy offered flu shots outside of the Union on Monday.

The Ole Miss chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists arranged multiple opportunities for students, faculty and Oxford residents to receive flu shots as a part of their yearly Operation Immunization campaign.

According to the APhA-ASP website, since 1997 Operation Immunization has provided vaccines to more than 1 million individuals and immunized 95,321 patients alone in the 2014-2015 campaign.

Operational Director of Pharmacy Sandra Bentley said receiving the vaccine is more than necessary.

“The influenza vaccine provides the best protection from contracting the flu,” she said. “These campus clinics just make it easier for students to get vaccinated.”

The goal of the operation is to increase the number of adults receiving immunizations, while also bringing the public knowledge about the vaccine.

The pharmacy students administering the vaccinations are trained during the spring of their first year of pharmacy school so that they can give shots during their second year. As a part of their practice, the students first give each other vaccinations.

Pharmacy student Jennifer Miller said they gave about 66 vaccinations to each other last Monday right before beginning the operation.

“It gives us a lot of good practice,” Miller said. “A lot of us work in community settings as well as where people come to get flu shots and other vaccines. It just makes it known to the rest of the community that pharmacists can also be that resource and that they do not have to go to the doctor to get their shots.”

Miller said the flu shot does not give you flu-like symptoms, contrary to popular belief.

“It may be that you are just one of the unlucky people that the flu shot does not protect against a certain strain of flu or that you were already in the process of getting the flu when you got the shot,” Miller said. “The flu shot is a deactivator of the virus. If anything, it will just cause arm soreness for a day or two.”

Pharmacy students will continue administering shots until Oct. 26 at various locations including the Residential College, the Lyceum, Turner Center, the law school and the Student Union.

Students interested in receiving a shot must bring their student ID and insurance information. Most insurances will cover the vaccine, but if no insurance is available, a fee of $35 will be billed to the student’s bursar account.

According to freshman biology major, Morgan Pfleger, flu shots are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for college students.

“It’s always important to take care of yourself,” Pfleger said. “We are here to get an education and to make sure that we are on top of our game, and getting the flu or getting sick is only going to hurt us from doing that.”