GV offers flu shot clinics


GVL / Jonathan Lantiegne

Emma Armijo, Staff Writer

Nearing the end of Sept. at Grand Valley State University, students are approaching cold and flu season as cooler temperatures arrive. As students return to face-to-face classes and activities, some for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, simple symptoms can be a cause for alarm. 

Receiving an annual dose of the flu shot is one solution, and experts say it would be more important than ever this year.

Practice Manager of the GVSU Family Health Center, Tamara Vankampen, said she encourages the GVSU community to get a flu shot this year. 

Due to the added strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vankampen said it is important not only that vulnerable populations receive the flu shot, but that everyone, including students, get their flu shot this season.

“If people get their flu shot, it obviously is going to reduce their chances of getting the flu or getting really sick if they do get it,” Vankampen said. “This helps to reduce hospitalizations, and ultimately could reduce the current strain on our health systems.”

Vankampen said the COVID-19 has shown students how important it is to take care of their health through simple steps like receiving a vaccine. 

“With students being back on campus, they need to understand that they’re not invincible and can be vulnerable to a virus, which COVID has shown us,” Vakampen said. “I think it will cause more students to get the flu shot this year.”

Besides flooding hospitals and health centers, COVID has also created a more aware and generally more health-conscious society. Some students have already taken the incentive to get the flu shot.

 GVSU student Alexis Carpenter said she didn’t question another shot after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, especially because it was free.

“I got the Covid vaccine and I was like, well, what will another shot do?” Carpenter said. “I definitely felt more motivated (to get the flu shot) because of the COVID shot.”

Carpenter said that along with the COVID-19 vaccination, she felt the flu shot was an important way to keep herself, friends, family and her community safe. 

Vankampen said that GVSU has seen a steady increase in the number of students on campus receiving the flu shot each year.

“I have a feeling that we will be giving more flu shots than we have in years past,” Vankampen said.

GVSU students can receive the flu shot through the university beginning on Oct. 5 this year at both the Allendale and Grand Rapids campuses.

“We run a flu vaccine clinic every year, and our first one is starting October 5th,” Vankampen said. “We will be going to different places on both the Grand Rapids and Allendale campuses, so students, faculty and staff can sign up.”

For more information and ways to get in touch, visit the website at www.gvsu.edu/fhc, or email [email protected] directly.