Nurses administer free flu shots

Students, staff and faculty gathered in Hahn Plaza Wednesday to visit the free flu shot clinic. The clinic returned for its 12th year at USC. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

Los Angeles County Public Health, USC Student Health and Undergraduate Student Government sponsored the annual free flu shot clinic in Hahn Plaza on Wednesday.

Students were invited to line up in front of Tommy Trojan, complete paperwork and receive a free vaccination with no appointment.

The annual clinic is in its 12th year at USC, and L.A. County Public Health staff estimates that it vaccinated over 400 students this year.

“College students are very communicable,” said Sharon Sylvers-Sydney, a public health nurse who led the flu clinic. “So that you don’t have an epidemic on campus, it’s good to become vaccinated.”

Sylvers-Sydney said that it is important that students get their flu shots to prevent more serious conditions such as pneumonia and death. She also believes that the free service drew many students to get vaccinated.

“I think it is very important that [the vaccinations] are free,” Sylvers-Sydney said. “I feel that the school should offer them for free. They’re getting the vaccine for free, so they’re  charging to administer it, Which is ridiculous.”

The New York Times reported in January that the flu is “moderately severe” this year and the vaccine appears to be especially ineffective.

Despite reports, Sylvers-Sydney said she is certain of the importance of L.A. County Public Health initiative.

“If we vaccinate 500 students here, then that’s 500 less students who are getting the flu, hopefully,” Sylvers-Sydney said.

The clinic had to close early due to a limited supply of vaccinations, but Sylvers-Sydney said she and the rest of the staff were pleased with the student turnout.

Nathan Sweeney, a freshman majoring in international relations global business, said that the central location of the clinic made it easily accessible and reminded him to get vaccinated.

“It’s important to get the flu shot every year, because the flu is not something that you want to catch,” Sweeney said. “I had forgotten about [the clinic], but I was just walking down here and saw that it was going on, so I decided to stop by.”

Lance Good, a senior majoring in communication, said that although she is skeptical as to whether or not vaccinations actually prevents the flu, she does not want to risk getting sick.

“For my insurance [plan], I have to go to  my doctor to get my shot because I tried to go to CVS but there’s a $40 copay,” Good said. “I probably would not have gotten it if it wasn’t for [the clinic].”