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Free student flu vaccine clinic sees hundreds of attendees 

Free student flu vaccine clinic sees hundreds of attendees 

The flu clinic in Peirce Lounge | LIZ DEPROSPO

On Oct. 25, Kenyon students took preemptive measures against oncoming winter illness by attending a free flu shot clinic in Peirce Lounge. According to Associate Director of Health Promotion Holly Levin, the clinic saw approximately 380 attendees — a turnout that was largely aided by a strategic location change and student advocacy. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu kills between 12,000 and 52,000 Americans and hospitalizes hundreds of thousands more every year. While residential campuses such as Kenyon are at greater risk for disease outbreak due to close contact between students, the CDC estimates that the flu vaccine decreases the risk of illness by up to 60%. “Living in such close spaces leads to the flu spreading more easily,” Levin wrote in an email to the Collegian. “If you are vaccinated, you aren’t only helping yourself defend against serious illness, but you’re helping others.” 

In 2021 and 2022, flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics were held on the Lowry Center’s Multi-Activity Court. This year, instead of trekking down the hill, students could pop into Peirce Lounge during lunch and receive their shot. “I think Peirce Lounge is a convenient space for students, and convenience usually boosts attendance,” Levin said. Inside the clinic, students lined up to fill out a card with basic information such as their student ID number and past reactions to vaccines before their turn with a Cox Health and Counseling Center nurse or nurse practitioner. 

This year, the clinic’s turnout was also amplified by advocacy from a group of students in Immunology (BIOL 345). As part of a project promoting public awareness of the flu vaccine’s importance, four students created a banner and tabled for the clinic to spread information about the vaccine and its efficacy through both face-to-face conversations and passive advertisements. According to group member Eva Illuzzi ’24, the group members sought to convey the importance of the vaccine in an engaging way by spoofing how campus organizations advertise for “all-campus” parties. “We thought of doing a massive poster like when students advertise all-campus events,” Illuzzi said in an interview with the Collegian. “We played on words with the all-campus flu clinic ‘free shots,’ as in free flu shots.” 

As group member Megan Lydon ’25 explained, while getting the flu shot every year can be inconvenient, it is crucial in keeping up with the constant evolution of the potentially deadly virus. “Specifically with influenza, because there are so many different variants, people often forget that you need to get a new vaccination every year because it is so diverse,“ she said. 

While last Tuesday’s event was the only organized vaccine clinic planned for this semester, students who missed the clinic can schedule an appointment to receive the flu shot at the Health Center. The vaccine is also available at a range of local pharmacies, including Walmart, Rite Aid and the Knox Community Health Center.

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