Photo of AU mascot Augustus getting a mock flu shot
Augustus the Jaguar also encourages the campus and community to get a flu vaccine this season.

‘Protect yourself and those around you’: MCG experts tout importance of flu vaccination for campus and community

As cold and flu season approaches, Augusta University is taking proactive steps to ensure the health and well-being of its employees, students and the community at large.

In a bid to encourage flu vaccination, the Immunology Center of Georgia, part of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, will host a flu vaccine clinic for Augusta University employees from 9-11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in the Georgia Cancer Center’s M. Bert Storey Research Building lobby.

The best part? No advanced sign-ups are required, making it easier than ever to get your flu shot. Employees who plan to attend the clinic should bring their employee ID and a copy of their insurance card.

Klaus Ley, MD, co-director of the Immunology Center of Georgia, emphasizes the significance of getting vaccinated against the flu.

“The flu can have serious consequences, and by getting vaccinated, you protect yourself and those around you,” Ley said. “It’s a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of this contagious virus. Our Augusta University campus is setting the example, and we hope to encourage the entire community to get the flu vaccine.”

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The on-campus clinic offers an easily accessible opportunity for Augusta University employees to protect themselves and their colleagues from the flu this season, said Francis Toole, director of Augusta University Employee Health and Wellness.

“We are committed to providing our employees with convenient and affordable access to flu vaccines,” Toole said. “Whether you choose to visit the clinic or our office, we are here to support your health and well-being.”

In addition to the upcoming clinic, Employee Health and Wellness offers walk-in flu vaccines from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at its office on the first floor of Professional Building One, making it easier for employees to prioritize their health. Call the clinic at 706-721-3418 for more information.

Augusta University’s Student Health Services offered flu vaccines throughout October, including mobile clinics to students living both on and off campus, said Harrison Lamp, nurse clinician with SHS.

“Our team was proud to help 750 students receive their free flu vaccinations this fall,” said Lamp. “Students who want to get their flu shot can call 706-721-3448 or email our clinic, and we’ll get them more information about how to access a vaccine. SHS encourages all our students to take this step to protect themselves and their classmates.”

Flu vaccination is not only a responsible choice but also a crucial step in maintaining public health. The World Health Organization records about 1 billion cases of influenza each year. Severe cases often result in hospitalizations, contributing to up to 650,000 respiratory-related deaths globally.

Worried about potential side effects from the vaccine? Ley said that’s a minor concern compared to the effects of full-blown flu.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life-threatening allergic reactions to flu shots are very rare. While severe reactions are uncommon, it is important to let your health care provider know if you have a history of allergy or severe reaction to vaccines before getting a flu shot.

“Common side effects from a flu shot could include soreness or swelling at the site of the injection, headache, low-grade fever, nausea, muscle aches or fatigue,” he said. “Those minor side effects are an indication your immune system is responding as it should to the vaccination. You will experience much more severe fever, aches and other symptoms if you catch the flu without being vaccinated against it.

“The easy access to vaccines and the commitment of our student and employee health teams signify Augusta University’s dedication to the well-being of our campus,” Ley said. “Let’s all take this important step to protect our health and ensure a safer, healthier future for our community.”

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Written by
Heather Henley

Heather Henley is Director of Scientific Communications at the Immunology Center of Georgia, part of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Contact her at

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Woman's head shot Written by Heather Henley

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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