Students, staff and faculty got a head start against this year’s flu virus, taking advantage of campus clinics to get the influenza shot.
About 1,700 people got jabbed at one of several on-campus clinics held in the second week of November. While most people who get the flu experience only mild symptoms, people living with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women and older adults can face more severe consequences.
Influenza hospitalizes 12,000 Canadians annually and claims the lives about 3,500. The flu has been estimated to cost the Canadian economy over 1.5 million work days each year because of absences and reduced productivity.
“U of T understands that students lead busy lives,” said Janine Robb, the University of Toronto’s executive director of Health and Wellness. “We wanted to make it easier for our students to stay healthy and to help the protect the most vulnerable people in our communities from this year’s influenza virus,” she said.
While the cost of the vaccine is covered by Ontario’s health system, U of T funds the clinics. A team of university staff from many departments helped to organize the flu prevention campaign to make getting the vaccine as convenient as possible for the community.
The Ontario government is preparing for this year’s flu season with extra orders of the vaccine in an effort to decrease the burden of care on the province’s hospitals.
When healthy people receive the vaccine, the risk of transmission decreases for everyone.
In addition to getting vaccinated, Jeff Kwong, a professor at U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said he tells students to take common sense measures to staying healthy. “All those things your mom told you to do,” he said.
Hand-washing, maintaining a good diet and ensuring they exercise and sleep are all important, he said.
(U of T provost Cheryl Regehr does her part to prevent transmission of the flu.)