Shots. Shots. Shots. (Everybody.)
UNC students and community members can now receive the flu and Pfizer COVID-19 bivalent booster shots at several locations on campus.
Flu shots can be received at the Student Stores Pharmacy, Campus Health Pharmacy, University Employee Occupational Health Clinic and campus walk-in clinics. Those with health insurance are encouraged to bring their insurance cards, according to the UNC flu vaccination website.
The best way to prevent the contraction and spread of the seasonal flu is to receive the vaccine annually, according to a campus-wide email sent to the UNC community from UNC Environment, Health and Safety.
As of Sept. 12, UNC Campus Health Services has provided 489 flu shots so far, UNC Media Relations said in an email to The Daily Tar Heel.
UNC Media Relations said updated COVID-19 boosters are available through the Student Stores Pharmacy and the Campus Health Pharmacy with no appointment necessary. Locations will offer them Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Between March 10 and Sept. 10, Campus Health has administered 1,390 COVID-19 vaccines, 1,107 of which were booster shots.
"To date, Campus Health has provided 15,818 COVID shots; 10,229 of those have been booster shots. That includes shots to students, faculty, staff and immediate family," said Media Relations.
The Pfizer booster is recommended for individuals over 12 who received the primary COVID-19 vaccine series or booster at least two months beforehand.
Dr. Amir Barzin, an associate professor for the UNC School of Medicine in the department of family medicine, said UNC has ordered 9,000 flu shots and 1,200 updated Pfizer booster shots in stock, though the University is allowed to order more booster shots from the state on a weekly basis.
He said as a practicing physician, his biggest concern is what can be done to limit people becoming severely ill or hospitalized.
“I think people get frustrated, or they get upset, if they’ve been vaccinated and then they get COVID,” Barzin said. “But, in reality, even though the vaccine may be not prevented them from getting the actual virus, it has done a very good job of preventing the progression to severe disease.”
With the updated bivalent booster, Barzin said more sequencing was conducted compared to other vaccines previously, so members of the medical community understand how to identify changes in variance more quickly.
He said rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations have been lower compared to the height of the pandemic, but that those feeling sick should get tested. Individuals may also be eligible for Paxlovid — an antiviral prescription authorized for the treatment of COVID-19 that is available in retail pharmacies, Barzin said. As of Sept. 8, Orange County is at a medium level of community COVID-19 spread, according to the CDC. This is the first time since July 7 that Orange County has been below a high level of spread.
“It’s a game-changer for us,” he said. “If you think about that — especially on our campus community — every semester we’ve gotten more and more defense mechanisms, and this is one that we started this semester with that we really didn’t have in prior semesters, so it’s really, really helpful.”
Barzin also said flu vaccines change seasonally and those who are vaccinated are less likely to end up critically ill or in the intensive care unit.
Shannon Poon, a senior majoring in geography, said she recently received the flu shot at the Student Stores pharmacy and previously got the first COVID-19 booster on campus in November 2021. Similarly, the wait took around five minutes, and she plans on receiving the updated COVID-19 booster soon, she said.
“It’s important for yourself, but it’s also important for others, to protect the people around you and, generally, your community,” Poon said.
Though there was a mass email sent out to students about both shots, Poon said some people do not read those, so more communication toward the student population could help people learn about how to receive them.
Those wishing to learn more can visit Campus Health or contact them at email@example.com or 919-966-2281.
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