The shots, which cost $19, will guard against flu type A and B. The shot clinic was scheduled for Nov. 1-2, but has been postponed due to a shipping problem. Students will be notified by e-mail when a new date is set.
"If we have a vaccine to prevent an illness, its beneficial to the community on a whole," said Pamela Tietz, the St. Olaf health center's nurse practitioner.
According to a leaflet distributed by The Vaccine Education Center at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the vaccines "will prevent about 70 to 90 of every 100 people who receive it from developing moderate-to-severe influenza."
The vaccine itself, like every other live virus vaccine, can cause some side effects, although because the virus is not activated, it cannot cause the flu. Side effects include pain at the injection site, muscle aches, low-grade fever, mild congestion and runny nose.
An informal survey of 64 students on Saturday indicated that about 37.5 percent of students are definitely not getting the shot.
"If I get the flu, I get the flu," Brandon Lilya '09 said.
Twenty percent said they would probably get the shot. Tying with those who will for sure not get the shot, 37.5 percent of the students said they would get the shot.
"Getting the flu stinks," John Bartholow '07 said, explaining his reasons for getting the shot.
The remaining 5 percent said they probably would not get the shot.
Influenza A has a genetic makeup that allows for frequent mutations. According to the World Health Organization, Influenza A was responsible for outbreaks of Hong Kong, Asian and Spanish Influenzas. Spanish Influenza, which lasted from 1918-1919, had a high death rate among young, healthy people. Because the virus can mutate quickly and cause epidemics, annual vaccinations are recommended.
Influenza B is associated with milder symptoms, however it can result in complications for the very young, the very old or the otherwise weakened due to immune deficiencies. People tend to have greater resistance to Influenza B because it mutates less dramatically than Influenza A.