Free vaccinations encourage healthier living

By Angel Bell Students are busy, but in a world full of germs and disease waiting to attach themselves to flesh, it is important to make an effort to prevent sickness by vaccinations. Sophomore sociology major Stacey Davidson believes they are a great idea. “It’s important for students to get vaccinated in order for them to have the best health possible,” she said, “especially at school where diseases have a tendency to travel fast.” The university offered several vaccines in a free shot clinic this month. Sophomore nursing major Megan Skarpa thinks clinics are a good way to help control sickness on campus. “When someone is vaccinated, it not only is a good health choice for them but those around them,” she said. “Being in college, viruses travel fast, and it’s important to take care of yourself and also those around you. The free shot clinic is a very good idea because college students typically do not have a lot of money to spend.” At the clinic on Sept. 29, students were offered five vaccinations. The shots were only available on a first come first served basis and included the meningitis, Gardasil, hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and tetanus booster vaccines. Many students may not be familiar with the newer Gardasil vaccine, which is used to help prevent certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer. UMHB Nurse Debbie Rosenberger believes this vaccine has potential to help protect women against cervical cancer, but she also thinks that people must carefully consider what is done with their own body. “If you are female up to age 26, it is recommended that you receive the Gardasil vaccine,” she said. “You can insure your personal health habits. What you can’t control is your future mate. (Because of) poor choices, this person could carry HPV and give it to you without any symptoms themselves. Then you develop cervical cancer.” The meningitis vaccine is recommended for students living in campus housing. Rosenberger thinks it is better to get rid of a disease before it happens and is looking to attract students to the free clinics who are not able to pay for vaccines. “Prevention beats intervention any day of the week,” she said. “The purpose of (a) shot clinic is to enable those who can’t afford the vaccines to get them. If folks are under-insured, meaning they have insurance but it does not cover vaccines, then they can come.” Rosenberger also recommends an alternate program for younger students. “Any 18-year-old falls under the federal program (called) Vaccines for Children,” she said. This allows them to “receive immunizations at the...

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