By Christin Senior | October 3, 2019 1:57 pm

Hundreds of UCF faculty staff and students turned out Oct. 2 to get their free flu shots and help UCF win second place in the “4 U’s Fight the Flu” contest among Florida’s largest universities to administer the most flu shots in one day.

Student Health Services administered 838 flu shots. The University of South Florida gave 1,181 vaccinations. Florida State University and University of Florida gave 767 and 676 vaccinations respectively for a total of 3,462 flu shots given in a single day across Florida.

UCF Student Health Services provided the free walk-in shots during its annual Healthy Knights Expo at the Student Union and also at the UCF College of Medicine. While UCF did not win bragging rights this year, Susanna Bryan, the coordinator of Student Health Service’s immunization and allergy clinic, said there are many reasons to celebrate.

“Last year we only gave 187 shots at the Healthy Knights Expo and before that the highest we have ever given was five years ago when we gave a little over 400 shots,” she said. “While we normally push a big flu shot campaign every single year, this year it’s special because now we’re competing with other universities and everybody’s hyped up and ready because we want UCF to win.”

Dr. Michael Deichen, associate vice president for Student Health Services, was at the Student Union to cheer on Knights faculty, staff and students to stay healthy during flu season.

“I am so happy with the success of our Healthy Knights immunization campaign,” Dr. Deichen said. “It’s a good practice for us to immunize a large group of people at one time, because you never know there could be a serious outbreak, and this event is a great model for how you do that. With the competition aspect, there’s a lot of school spirit. So it’s a big motivator and a great way for them to get healthy.”

At Wednesday’s event, those who received a flu shot also took home a free t-shirt and other UCF health-related materials. Among the scores of faculty members who came to get their shots was Dr. Deborah German, vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine.

“Isn’t it wonderful when we can have a competition that keeps us all healthy?” she said. “For everybody to come out and get a flu shot will make the UCF campus the healthiest campus in the state. Every individual who gets the flu shot not only protects themselves, but protects all of the people around them — their family, their friends and their colleagues.”

The event also provided a convenient and economical alternative for students who might have trouble affording the vaccine.

“My family doesn’t have insurance so this is the best way to protect myself without spending a lot of money at the doctor,” said biomedical sciences major Anne Silva. “This was so quick, easy and convenient I was in and out in no time. I also think it’s a great initiative to get students out here to be more informed about their health and decisions they can make regarding their health.”

Even though the 4 U’s competition has ended, Bryan encourages everyone at UCF to get vaccinated, noting that Student Health Services will continue to issue free flu shots throughout the year with no appointments necessary. Faculty and staff only need to show proof of insurance. Students just have to show their UCF ID.

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