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Few at NYU get flu shot despite high hospitalization rate


Flu shots among NYU students are down as hospitalizations hit a 10-year high.

Samson Tu

NYU offers free flu shots for students. (Samson Tu for WSN)

Avery Branch, a freshman at the Tisch School of the Arts, experienced nausea, body aches, cold sweats and blackouts after testing positive for the flu earlier this year. But she decided not to get the flu shot.

“My pediatrician told my mom and us growing up that if we don’t have lung problems, we don’t need to take them,” Branch said. “I have never had a flu shot. I’ve never had such a bad experience with the flu that I felt like I needed it.”

Branch is one of many NYU students who have not received a flu shot and do not plan to. WSN asked 100 students if they had gotten a flu shot this year. Only 35% said they had received it so far.

Hospitalization with flu higher this year than the same time last year, reaching the highest number of hospitalizations in more than a decade. This sharp increase in hospitalizations was also seen among young adults aged 18-29. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been about 1.6 million cases, 13,000 hospitalizations and 730 deaths from the flu this season. The CDC says the vaccine is the best form of protection against the virus.

NYU Student Medical Center, which offers free flu shots to all NYU students regardless of insurance, administered 4,261 flu shots last year. Only 3,351 shots have been fired so far this season. In a statement to WSN, a spokesperson for the Student Health Center said one of the reasons for fewer flu shots this season is that many students last season received the flu shot along with the university-administered COVID-19 shot.

Freshman Tisha Marisa Caputa got her flu shot this year after the cold weather aggravated her asthma. She said she got the vaccine to protect herself and others.

“I’ve never had the flu and I honestly don’t get bad seasonal colds, but I just thought it was best for the people around me to be safe as well,” Caputo said. “Sometimes it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about herd immunity, so I thought about that too.”

The Student Health Center does not offer flu shots to NYU faculty and staff, although NYU Human Resources held clinics for those groups in October. The Health Center has also hosted pop-up clinics on campuses such as Palladium Hall and the Stern School of Business. She said in a statement that she is well-stocked for flu season and is willing to give a free flu shot to any NYU student who requests it.

“Getting an annual flu shot can help prevent you from getting the flu, stop spreading the flu to others, make you less sick if you do get sick, and prevent complications like pneumonia,” the Student Health Center said in a statement. “That’s why it’s important for everyone to get a flu shot every year. Get a shot, not the flu.”

Contact Amna Sheikh st [email protected]

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