Kent States flu clinic trying to keep students healthy

Kelly Tunney

October marks the beginning of flu outbreaks.

But students can now choose from three vaccines in order to arm themselves against this season’s flu.

The CDC recommends getting vaccinated every year because of the different strains, or types and subtypes of the virus, which are spread around and can cause illness. The flu can transfer from person to person when they are nearly six feet apart, causing aching, fevers, coughing and more.

From no needles to nasal, there’s no shortage of preventative measures for this year’s strain.

Flu Clinic

When: Tuesday, Nov. 1

Wednesday, Nov. 2

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Kent State University Library

Cost: $20 can be paid in cash, check or billed to Bursar

No appointments, only walk-ins

Provided by Kent State University Health Services


Danielle Bolon, a pharmacist at Giant Eagle in Stow, said the company is now carrying a new type of needle-free vaccine called Pharmajet. PharmaJet is the newest vaccination to make it to the market

“It is completely spring and air driven,” she said. “It’s basically like a plastic actuator that they use. It’s no longer a syringe. It uses a plastic-tipped cartridge on it that does not use a needle.”

Bob Laux, pharmacy professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, said the PharmaJet vaccine can be injected without the use of a needle because of the high-pressured spring inside.

“For administering the vaccine, it is pressed into the muscle or the subcutaneous fat, pressed kinda hard and the trigger is released,” he said. “That puts the jet of vaccine into the skin.”

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Laux said one of the biggest advantages of the vaccine is that it allows those with a fear of needles to avoid them.

“People have a basic tendency to not want to be stuck,” Laux said. “Some pharmacists don’t like sticking people, and some pharmacists refuse to administer these immunizations. They just don’t like doing it. So this is an alternative.”

Laux said the needle-free system also eliminates safety issues that the traditional syringes may cause.

“There are a lot of needle-stick injuries that occur after a needle has been used, and the health care professional inadvertently sticks themselves,” he said. “The potential for spreading infectious disease is there.”

Nasal spray

Another type of vaccine available for students who are not comfortable with the traditional injection is the nasal spray.

Amanda Lavignette, pharmacy manager for Walgreens in Kent said most people are not interested in the nasal vaccine, but it can be ordered for someone who wants it.

“The nasal spray is an active vaccination,” she said. “There can be more side effects with it because it’s actually an active virus that could cause more symptoms of running a fever and maybe not feeling well.”

Lavignette said the because of the active virus used with the spray, not as many people are healthy enough to take the vaccination.

“It’s more common that they would have side effects with the nasal mist,” she said. “That’s why we have to make sure that you’re healthy, so that your immune system is strong and will fight the virus.”

Traditional injection

Students can also find the traditional injection vaccination on campus at the DeWeese Health Center.

Mary Reeves, director of university health services, said the health center offers the traditional vaccine because of its demand.

“In the past we had the nasal, and we didn’t use it. There wasn’t a big request for it,” she said. “People are still somewhat frightened of it because it’s a live vaccine.”

Reeves said students should consider getting vaccinated, especially during finals and midterms.

“This is the time of year when students are working hard and studying hard and don’t sleep a lot and don’t eat really well,” she said. “So you’re somewhat suppressed, and to be able to prevent (sickness) I think is really important.”

Reeves said students can schedule an appointment for a flu vaccination, or can walk in; however, appointments will be given first priority. The health center will also be providing a flu clinic in the Library Nov. 1, which is open to all on-campus and commuter students.

Tom Skinner, a spokesperson for the Center for Disease Control, said the company highly endorses getting any flu vaccination.

“We recommend that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated against it,” he said. “It’s the single most important thing that you can do to protect yourself from getting the flu.”

Contact Kelly Tunney at [email protected].