Letter to the editor
USC should require flu shot
“I hate needles, it’s going to hurt so bad.” “I don’t need the flu shot; it’s only for the elderly.” “I never get the flu; there’s no need for me to get the flu shot.”
These are all quotes from my roommate, who until last week, when I forced her to go to the health clinic with me to get my annual flu shot, had not received a shot since the first grade. I, on the other hand, am used to getting vaccinations. From the chicken pox, to the meningitis, to the HPV vaccine and to yearly flu shots, I have become immune to being poked with needles.
Should all USC students be required to get the flu shot, or is that simply unnecessary? I am a firm believer in the efficacy of the flu shot and after having a first-hand experience with swine flu nearly two years ago, I hereby advocate for USC to make it mandatory for all students to be vaccinated.
People scared of needles can take a sigh of relief: There is an alternative. The nasal-spray is inhaled through the nose and contains a weakened strain of the live virus found in the flu.
“But I got the flu shot last year!”
As much as we would all like to get one flu shot that lasts a lifetime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Mayo Clinic, the flu virus evolves so rapidly that last year’s vaccine will not protect you from the strains present in this year’s flu.
“But I can’t afford it.”
This is not a valid excuse anymore, considering for students with USC health insurance, it costs just $2.50 for a flu shot. And for those students with another form of health insurance, it’s only $25. Because USC is covering 90 percent of health care costs for students, we should all take advantage of this and protect ourselves from the flu. And if $25 seems like too much money, consider the costs you incur when you are diagnosed with some form of influenza and are required to purchase Tamiflu, Advil, etc.
The New York Times said in a health article about pertussis that “people living in dormitories or other crowded conditions” should be vaccinated. Sure, some students might be commuting and others might live in single dorms, but for the most part, the majority of USC students have at least one roommate, which automatically increases our chances of contracting the flu. By receiving the flu shot, we are not only protecting ourselves, but we are also reducing the chances that our roommates/peers will come down with the flu.
USC already requires proof of a variety of other vaccinations and mandates that all international students provide documentation of a tuberculosis test prior to enrollment. What is one more shot, and one that could ultimately protect tens of thousands of students, teachers and faculty members?