Flu shots are given with a syringe with a 22 to 24 gauge needle. Photo credit: Alvin Tsang

Flu shots are now available on campus but are offered only to dorm residents, campus staff, and students who are approved to attend classes on campus.

“Ottawa Public Health is in control,” said Trina Budd, manager of Algonquin College’s Health Services. “We have no control over how much we get. We’ve asked for more, but we don’t know.”

Algonquin College’s flu vaccination clinic opened on Monday, Nov. 2. It is confirmed to open again the week of Nov. 16, 17 and 18. Beyond that point, however, they will need to count the supplies. Should the college still have enough vaccines by that time, the clinic will try to open on Nov. 23.

“We only received the first shipment,” Budd said. “Enough for November. But we do still have room currently. Not all spots are filled. There were lots of cancellations and no-shows on that first day.”

Tai Chan, a student in practical nursing, isn’t surprised that there is a shortage.

“The flu vaccine shortage was kind of expected as COVID likely affected the production facilities,” Chan said. “That’s not to say flu shots aren’t important. It was just expected.”

Health Services says it is “more important than ever to reduce the spread of the flu” by getting the vaccine.

“They’re more important than ever this year due to the fact that we need to keep hospitalisations down as much as possible,” Chan said. “Also because there’s a risk of people catching the flu and being uncertain as to whether they have the flu or COVID, and then having to put themselves further at risk by going out and getting tested.”

Algonquin College opens its flu vaccination clinic every year, which was previously run by students in University of Ottawa’s nursing program.

This year, registered nurses employed by the college are giving the flu shots, explained Budd.

Flu shots are usually given through what is called an intramuscular or IM injection, meaning the vaccine is injected straight into the muscle as opposed to the layer of fat above. A syringe with a 22 to 24 gauge needle is used to administer the shot. Two alcohol wipes are used on the injection site and the vaccine bottle itself.

This year, the same applies except everyone involved will wear masks, and high-touch surfaces are carefully sanitized between patients.

The flu shot clinic operates out of the Nawapon room on the first floor of C Building. To book an appointment, please call 613.727.4723 ext. 7222.