Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, April 22, 2018

College students shrug off need for H1N1 vaccine

Though college-age people are one of the most susceptible groups for contracting the H1N1 virus, some AU students do not believe the vaccination for it is necessary.

Seven out of ten people in the 18-to-29 age group said they did not plan to heed warnings to get vaccinated, a Washington Post-ABC poll found. Sixty-two percent of those in the 30-to-64 group and 53 percent of those in the 65-plus age group said they would skip the vaccine.

At AU, some students are more concerned about the risks of swine flu than others.

Carol Foster, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, said she had flu-like symptoms and may have already had the H1N1 virus, so she will not get the vaccine. However, she will be more careful in the future, she said.

“I am always very cautious of getting sick, but this year especially, I make sure to wash my hands and stay away from sick people,” Foster said. “I really love the Purell dispensers everywhere.”

The Student Health Center is working with the D.C. Department of Health to become a vaccination site for the H1N1 virus, according to the Health Center’s Web site. The vaccine will arrive between mid-November and December and will first be given to students who are pregnant or younger than 24-years-old.

Deep Master, a senior in SPA, said he plans to get the vaccine and thinks the risk of contracting the swine flu is serious.

“I plan to get the vaccine since this is the worst flu season ever and I don’t want to take any chances,” he said. “I have been more careful by washing my hands since the swine flu has occurred, as the symptoms of the flu are very dangerous.”

College students jaywalk, consume large amounts of energy drinks, hold back on sleep and are around students with swine flu, the Post wrote last week.

The Post questioned the men of Sigma Phi Epsilon from George Washington University at their fraternity house, and found that the students do not worry about the swine flu. Some said they do not need it, others do not think it is any riskier than many of their other behaviors — like texting while driving or jaywalking.

Seventeen AU students and eight faculty and staff have reported flu-like symptoms during the week ending Nov. 6. The SHC does not test for the H1N1 virus.

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