Nursing & Professional Disciplines holds flu vaccination campaign
Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated for influenza. Unfortunately for North Dakota, many of our residents choose to forgo vaccination entirely. According to the CDC, during the 2012-2013 flu season only 48.9 percent of North Dakotans were vaccinated against the flu. The North Dakota Department of Health reported 4,833 cases of influenza for the 2012-2013 flu season. With this in mind, the UND College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines (CNPD) has set a goal of 100 percent influenza vaccination throughout all three of its departments, including faculty & staff.
Multiple opportunities to obtain the flu vaccination on the UND campus will be provided for staff, faculty and students during October. The first clinic will be held on Oct. 21 at the Nursing Building, first floor, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost for the immunization is $35. UND ID is required. Insurance may be filed on site for those with North Dakota Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage who present their UND ID’s and insurance cards. Students may also charge to their accounts. Flu vaccinations are also available by appointment at Student Health Services for students.
As leaders in health care, the faculty and staff of the CNPD are role models. This flu vaccination campaign is a great opportunity for the faculty and staff to set an example for the community and encourage flu vaccination for all residents. Getting a flu vaccination does not just protect the person being vaccinated, but also helps protect others with whom we come into contact, especially those at high risk of influenza-related complications. Did you know that some high risk populations cannot be vaccinated? The best way to protect these individuals is by vaccinating those they come into contact with, creating “herd immunity.” For this herd immunity protection to work well, vaccination rates in the population need to be at least at 80 percent .
The CNPD faculty and staff regularly engage with the public both on campus and throughout the community. This including clinical settings where they and the CNPD students are more likely to interact with high risk populations. Because of this, it is especially important for CPND faculty and staff to be vaccinated and also places them in a key position to lead the way for the general public. We at the CNPD challenge our faculty and staff as well as you, the public, to get your flu vaccination to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the high risk populations in our community.
In addition to being vaccinated, there are several other steps that individuals may take to protect themselves from contracting the flu or spreading it to others. Healthy hygiene habits include washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and disinfecting surfaces that may have come into contact with the influenza virus. The CDC notes that antibodies made in response to the vaccine may provide protection against other types of flu.
If someone suspects that they have contracted the flu, they are encouraged to stay home from work, school and errands while feeling sick. This self-imposed isolation dramatically lowers the chance of an infected person spreading the disease to others. Covering your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing is another step individuals can take to reduce the likelihood of transmitting the disease.
People who are at a higher risk of complications due to the flu are especially urged to obtain a vaccination for the upcoming year. This includes people who are younger than 5 years of age (especially those who are 6 months to 2 years old), pregnant women, and adults aged 65 or older. Other individuals at risk for complications due to infection are those who have medical conditions including asthma, weakened immune systems, heart disease, and COPD. You can find a more detailed list of those at risk by going to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm.
For more information about additional clinics on campus, please contact Student Health Services at 777.4500. For more information about the CNPD Vaccination Campaign, please contact Joni Tweeten at 777-4512.