As the leaves turn red, so do our noses: The beginning of fall also heralds the beginning of flu season. Don’t worry, though, Notre Dame is prepared. The annual Flu Blitz at the Stepan Center just took place, with hundreds of Notre Dame students taking advantage of the free vaccinations administered from Oct. 2-4.
In an article from the December 1992 edition of Scholastic, Patrick Lyons described the flu season, and the effectiveness of the free flu shot program, which had then only been offered for the past four years. The article described the efficacy of the program in preventing the spread of the flu, while noting the lack of efficiency due to overcrowding. Luckily, the 2018 Flu Blitz has proven just as effective and much more efficient. With electronic records and the ease of Irish1 cards, the vaccination process is much simpler.
The seasonal flu as a virus has changed quite a bit since 1992 as well. The strength and prevalence of the virus have increased, and the vaccination debate has become significantly more relevant, especially after the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization both continue to recommend the usage of flu vaccinations in shot and nasal spray forms. In 1992, increased vaccination rates resulted in decreased contraction rates, as noted by Carol Seaver, then-director of University Health Services. The CDC estimated that the 2017 flu season was the deadliest since 1976, resulting in the deaths of approximately 80,000 people in America alone. As the virus itself becomes more and more aggressive, it remains important to get vaccinated. The higher the vaccination rate, the better the collective health of Notre Dame’s student body as a whole.