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Penn's annual flu clinic at the Pottruck Health and Fitness Center will open Sept. 28 and close Sept. 30 this year (Graphic from Rebecca Huxta).

Penn is set to hold its annual three-day flu vaccine clinic, and will require all students to receive a flu vaccine for the second year in a row. 

The flu clinic — which provides students, faculty, and staff with free vaccines — will open Sept. 28 and close Sept. 30. Community members do not need to register for a time slot, and can walk in and present their PennCard to be vaccinated. The clinic will be hosted in Gimbel Gymnasium in the Pottruck Health and Fitness Center.

The flu clinic will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 28 and 29, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 30.

Associate Director of Public Health and Wellbeing Rebecca Huxta said that getting the flu vaccine reduces the severity of symptoms. If students get the flu, having received the vaccine can keep individuals out of the hospital.

“We’re already starting to see colds and upper respiratory infections circulating both on campus and in the Philadelphia area, so it’s an important public health tool to be able to get the flu vaccine that is required for all students,” Huxta said.

When students tap their PennCard at the flu clinic, the vaccine is automatically uploaded into students’ medical records. Huxta said it should save students the extra step of having to submit a separate immunization documentation and wait for approval.

In previous years, students have reported an efficient process at the flu clinic. Huxta said that community members are typically in and out the door within seven minutes.

Huxta said the vaccine clinic will also host volunteers from the Penn community and the School of Nursing in addition to staff from Wellness at Penn. 

“We will have some Nursing students on site who will both be administering vaccines and also helping to prep all the vaccines in the clinical area,” Huxta said, adding that Nursing School volunteers will receive time toward their community clinical hours.

Medical Director of Student Health and Counseling Vanessa Stoloff said that due to the way COVID-19 has mutated, it is likely that the flu will impact students more negatively than COVID-19.

“The prediction is that it will be a robust flu season this year because there has been such a relaxation of masking,” Stoloff said. “The flu data from the Southern Hemisphere has shown an angry version this year."

Stoloff said that data about each upcoming flu season is collected from the Southern Hemisphere, which encounters the virus earlier.

Penn’s booster clinic will mark the second time the University will use Gimbel Gymnasium as a vaccine clinic location this year. In January 2022, Penn held a COVID-19 booster clinic from Jan. 14 through Jan. 19. Last fall, the University also held its flu clinic at Gimbel, where nearly 14,000 community members were vaccinated.

Executive Director of Public Health and Wellbeing Ashlee Halbritter previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian that the University chooses Gimbel as a location for vaccine clinics due to a history of success and its accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.