With flu season in full swing, the controversy of whether or not the flu shot should be required circles back around the Montclair State University campus.
Patricia Ruiz, Director of the University Health Center and University Privacy Officer, explains that the shot has not been required since the fall of 2020.
“The seasonal flu vaccine was only mandated for the fall 2020 when we did not have coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations available,” Ruiz said. “There was a great concern that many students would experience both the flu and COVID-19 and risk their health and interruptions to their academic success.”
Although there has not been a huge spike in sickness, students are anxious that the shot is not required.
Chibuzor Ezeji, a junior public health major, is one of those students.
“I think it’s kind of dangerous,” Ezeji said. “With everything going on it doesn’t make sense for them to not require it. People have been getting sick recently so I don’t really support that.”
Lauren Taylor, a junior musical theater major, is concerned for her castmates and theater performances.
“That’s messed up,” Taylor said. “For a lot of the performances we are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and it’s kind of the same deal. We have to protect each other and make sure everyone is safe.”
Rachelle Vassoler, a junior visual communication design major, is worried for her safety.
“Especially in the fall there is a lot of spreading of the flu,” Vassoler said. “Even the past year with COVID-19 once we [came] back to school, there [was] a lot of spreading.”
Vassoler further explained that she doesn’t know if she fully believes if the flu shot should be required but it is a precaution that could help.
“I have already had teachers who had [to] have to cancel classes because of COVID-19 already,” Vassoler said. “With the flu, that’s every year. It would definitely help prevent stuff like that because it interferes with professors being in classes.”
Although there have not been a large number of COVID-19 or flu breakouts this semester, Ruiz urges students to be careful over the break.
“Seasonal flu and [COVID-19] vaccination are strong public health tools to keep individuals and their loved ones healthy,” Ruiz said. “The University Health Center (UHC) offers free flu vaccines to any student and strongly promotes the flu vaccine whenever a student comes to the UHC for any kind of evaluation.”