Think of getting shots and you might imagine kids screaming at the doctor’s office or picking out colorful stickers after being stuck by a needle. I don’t think we ever forget when we were all that age. Shots are never any fun but there is a long list of reasons young adults need vaccines too.
The immunizations you need as an adult depend on everything: your demographic, travel plans, gender, health status and lifestyle. College students are not exempt.
Heads up, Bulldogs—you’re the adult in this situation. Believe me, I hate planning my own doctor’s appointments, too.
We’re at the optimal age where immunizations are the most effective. Don’t take modern medical advances for granted. There are more vaccines available than just the flu shot.
For example, young adults are at higher risk for meningococcal disease, including meningitis, which can turn fatal rather quickly. Last spring, Central Michigan University junior Kristy Malter died after contracting bacterial meningitis. There are vaccinations available that can help protect against this and college students should especially take this health issue seriously.
As young adults, we are on our own for the first time and living closely with our peers exposes us to more illnesses than ever before. We’re all from different places, extremely stressed from studying, working and socializing while trying to sleep longer than a few hours. For these reasons, it is vital that all college students are protected from vaccine-preventable illnesses because everyone can be at risk.
I want to address the “herd immunity” that you hear about in science classes and on the news. The idea is that a group (herd) can avoid exposure to a disease by ensuring that enough people are immune to stop the spread of sickness in its tracks. Being a chronically ill college student, I have a weaker than average immune system. If you get sick, there’s a good chance I will too under the right conditions. Don’t use “herd immunity” as an excuse to skip your vaccinations.
Vaccines can save lives. Diseases that ravaged our ancestors are virtually unheard of now because of medical advances.
Everyone who qualifies for vaccinations should get vaccinated, not only to protect themselves but also to protect those who can’t. We have to think beyond the mindset that vaccines are just for kids. Vaccines are for adults too.
To receive seasonal vaccinations, you can visit Birkam Health Center on campus for a flu shot. Birkam will bill your health insurance for the shot, or the charge is $25 without insurance. That might be expensive on a college student’s budget but missing school and work because you got sick costs far more in the long run.