Free student vaccine clinic prepares campus for flu season



Brianna Schreurs

As some of the first flu cases pop up in the southeast region of South Dakota, the Brookings County Pandemic Planning and Coordination Committee (PPCC) looks to prepare South Dakota State University to defend against the viral infection.

 There will be free influenza vaccinations from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Volstorff Ballroom put on by the Brookings County PPCC. The flu shot clinic is for SDSU students 18 years or older only. Students will need student IDs to get a vaccine.

Brookings County PPCC is hoping to vaccinate 800 people at SDSU.

 Usually, there aren’t points of dispensing on campus, said Jayme Trygstad, SDSU emergency management specialist. This is the first time in 10 years the Brookings County PPCC has provided free vaccinations on campus.

 “If this pandemic happens during the school year, we don’t want students leaving campus if they are infected,” Trygstad said.

 When infected students leave campus for home or other places in Brookings, they increase the chance of transferring the infection further. 

The flu is highly contagious and is easily transmitted through sneezes and coughs of an infected person, according to the South Dakota Department of Health (SDDOH). 

No one has been diagnosed on campus yet, said Brenda Andersen, SDSU associate director of student health and counseling, but it can happen to anyone.

 “Students don’t think it’s going to happen to them, but when it does happen to them they realize how sick they can get,” Andersen said. “When students get influenza they are out of school for a week because they are contagious and then they feel like crap for that next week, so it kind of puts (students) two weeks back.” 

What’s more, Andersen said, is that students’ energy doesn’t return for an additional two weeks, so they are affected for a month of school.

 Andersen’s advice for students includes shielding a cough from others and frequently washing hands. This helps prevent you from passing germs onto others or even from getting sick in the first place.

 The free vaccinations are sponsored by the SDDOH and Brookings area points of dispensing.