Vaccinating Still Uphill Battle, Fewer Students Infected

www.uatrav.com – RSS Results in news* of type article Although there have been fewer cases of flu among students this year, persuading students to get the flu vaccine is always difficult, a UA Pat Walker Health Center official said.“Though this has been one of the better flu seasons on the UA campus, it still feels like an uphill battle to get students to receive the vaccine,” PWHC Nursing Director Lyn Edington said.PWHC staff treated 77 students with the flu from Feb. 25 – March 2 and 83 students from Feb. 18 – Feb. 24, PWHC officials said.
Students visiting PWHC because of the flu made up about 17 percent of total patient visits in February, which amounted to 459 positive flu cases in spring 2019 as of March 1, Brown said.This year is nothing compared to the last two years, PWHC Medical Director Huda Sharaf said.The 2018-19 flu vaccine was about 47 percent effective, which is 7 percentage points higher than in 2017-18, according to an interim estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.“It’s a lot better than 0 percent,” Sharaf said. “All things considered, these are pretty good numbers.”Flu season typically lasts between October and May in the U.S., but cases of the flu peak between December and February, according to the CDC.In February 2018, positive flu cases made up more than 18 percent of students visiting the health center. This year, the number has dropped to 17 percent,  Zac Brown, PWHC assistant director of communications at PWHC said.The flu can spread quickly across college campuses, especially if students and faculty have not received the annual flu vaccine, Sharaf said.Although 70 percent of college students think that it is important to get an annual flu vaccine, only 46 percent have reported actually getting vaccinated, according to a 2017 study by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.Junior Bethany Stafford, who is majoring in elementary education, did not receive her vaccine for this flu season …


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