Free Flu Shots at the Students Health and Wellness Center

Why it is still important to get the flu shot in December.


Elizabeth C. Goold RN, PHN, MSN at the Student Wellness and Health Center.

The Students Health and Wellness Center offers free flu shots. Anyone who is currently enrolled as student at COD qualifies for the vaccine. This offer is for COD students only. The SHW Center got 40 doses of the flue vaccine from Riverside county. Since November 28, students have been able to receive the vaccine at the Center that is located in the Craven Student Service Center on the first floor.

Student Health and Wellness Center
Photograph courtesy The Chaparral The Student Health and Wellness Center is located at the first floor of the Craven’s Student Service Building.

The SHW Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. During those times COD students can go the center and ask for the flu vaccine. Elizabeth C. Goold RN, PHN, MSN  is the Assistant Director of the SHW Center. She says, “due to the limited amount, not every student can receive the vaccine, that is why they will be given on a first come first serve basis.” She further explains, that the flu season starts technically in November and lasts to the end of March. The flu vaccine maybe protects from a infection with the flu around three to four months. The best time to get a flu shot is middle of October because it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take its full effect. Receiving the vaccine in October covers one for the flu season starting in November. But it’s never too late, Goold means, ”maybe in March it’s too late but just because it’s November, we’re just in December.” Don’t let that be a reason to not getting the vaccine because there are still January, February and March” where the flu will be around.

Goold explains why it is so important to get the flu vaccine, “the flu can make you very sick. Students who get infected with the flu will not be able to go to class. An infection with the flu causes an interruption of at least two weeks that students will miss of their education. Students who got the flu can barely function, she further explains. Getting the flu vaccine prevents that scenario. The other reason for getting the vaccine, according to Goold, “it protects students from getting the flu, so vaccinated students cannot spread the virus. It is disease control. for people who have a vulnerable elderly or vulnerable family members like small children, or there could be a person with cancer whose immunosuppressed, an infection with the flu could be deadly for each them. We want to protect each other, that is why the flu vaccines are so important.

Photograph courtesy The Chaparral The refrigerator where the flu shots are waiting.

The SHW Center always offered flu shots starting before the flu season starts in November. During the pandemic that came to a hold. This year they come back again. It was not difficult to get the flu vaccines. When Goold started and applied for the program there needed to be some requirements fulfilled. She explains, “we had to get a proper refrigerator and a proper freezer. Both need to be lab grade. Officers of Riverside County are inspecting the equipment and they approve it. The thermometers need to be calibrated, every year before the county comes out to check this.” Then there are all these documents that have to be filled. As soon as the medical director signs them they flu shots are ready to go. Based on experience and the last years supply Riverside County gives a certain amount of vaccines to the SHW Center. Because of two years of covid they came up with the number of 40 doses.

The flu shots are just one service that the SHW Center provides. There is a number of services that are available to the COD students. There is a registered nurse on duty every day. The services include first aid, and blood pressure, blood glucose and vision screenings. Beside that students can get information about health education and consultation. The SHW Center offers a wide range of community resource information. They are processing COD student accident insurance claims, for example when a student gets hurt during a PE class. The center offers low cost vaccines and TB testing. The center also offers HIV/STI testing and family planning and pap smears (please check the website for dates). The center has pregnancy testing and they publish the digital student health magazine.