In the midst of the most intense flu season since 2009, it remains vitally important that all members of the Cornell community remember to get vaccinated. The failure of both Cornell Health and the Tompkins County Health Department to prepare adequately for this season’s demand is disappointing, but Cornellians and Ithacans alike should not let this inconvenience prevent them seeking out the vaccine where it is still in supply.
Universities like Cornell are prime breeding grounds for communicable diseases like flu. The close quarters of dormitories, lectures, dining halls and dance floors bring us into contact with hundreds of people every day, each of them potential flu-carriers. Vaccination is the healthy and the smart choice.
Furthermore, many members of the Cornell community are prevented from vaccinating themselves due to allergies or other conditions. Oftentimes these people are the most susceptible to the flu virus itself. They rely on enough other people being vaccinated to stay healthy themselves — so when you vaccinate, you are helping others as well as yourself.
Cornell Health is still unable to meet demand, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using vaccinefinder.org to locate the nearest pharmacy offering vaccines. As of publication, several pharmacies in downtown Ithaca still have available supply. The University should also consider reimbursing Cornell students, faculty and employees for any additional costs they incur while navigating the shortage.