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10-16-19-flu-shot-clinic-vaccine-sue-kun-jpg

Flu vaccines seen in Houston Hall during Penn's second annual flu clinic on Oct. 16, 2019.

Credit: Seavmeiyin Kun

Penn vaccinated 14,000 community members at its longest and largest-ever flu vaccine clinic.

The flu clinic — which ran from Oct. 4 through Oct. 8 — was held in Gimbel Gymnasium in Pottruck Health and Fitness Center. Of the nearly 14,000 people who got vaccinated, nearly 11,000 were students, marking an almost 3,000-student increase from the 2019 flu clinic, Director of Campus Health Ashlee Halbritter said.

The 2021-2022 academic year marks the first that Penn will require all students to be vaccinated against the flu. As a result, Penn made the decision to increase the size and scale of the flu clinic to make it easier for all community members to get the vaccine, Halbritter explained.  

"Overall, the flu clinic was a tremendous success," Halbritter said. "We are really just thrilled with how things went and that student turnout was so high. It was truly very good all around."

Even with the larger scale of this year's vaccine clinic, students reported the vaccination process to be very efficient with little-to-no wait times. 

"I would have gotten the flu shot regardless, but going to the Gimbel clinic was super convenient," College junior Claudia Melendez said. "I walked in after I went to the gym and everyone was super nice. I was in and out within five minutes."

The flu clinic is typically run out of Houston Hall, but the University decided to move it to Gimbel Gymnasium since this year's flu clinic was expected to be a larger operation. This year's flu clinic also lasted one full week, as opposed to just three days as it often has in the past. The COVID-19 vaccine clinic last spring was also held in Gimbel Gymnasium. 

All students who were vaccinated at the Gimbel Gymnasium clinic had their University records automatically updated and do not have to do anything further to confirm their vaccination status, Halbritter said. Students who are vaccinated outside of Penn must upload proof of vaccination to their Student Health account, similar to the COVID-19 vaccine upload process. 

Wharton junior Arin Senior said knowing she would not have to provide any further documentation on getting the vaccine made it an easy decision to go to the clinic. 

"It honestly was just very easy," Senior said. "Being able to get the shot within 10 minutes while staying on campus and not having to upload any forms just seemed like a really great choice."

Halbritter said that for students who were not vaccinated at the flu clinic, there is still time to get the vaccine, but she emphasized that students should not delay getting their shot. 

Students who have yet to receive their flu vaccine can walk in or make an appointment online at CVS, which has three locations near campus: 3401 Walnut Street, 3925 Walnut Street, and 4314 Locust Street.

"For those who are not vaccinated, we strongly encourage that they become vaccinated, sooner rather than later," Halbritter said. "Flu season is coming and getting the vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and the community."

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