23-year-old Rob Anderson looks a little nervous as he takes a seat beside 4th year Trinity Western University nursing student Eliza Urfano. Anderson hates needles but today he is choosing to push past the fear and keep himself immune during a mumps clinic held at the Langley university.
After tracking the mumps outbreak and working with the Centre of Disease Control (CDC) and Fraser Health to secure 300 mumps immunizations, TWU's Campus Nurse Michele Regehr, in partnership with the Faculty of Nursing, set up a mumps clinic to immunize TWU students.
Monitored by TWU nursing faculty such as Assistant Professor of Nursing, Faith Richardson, 4th year nursing students administered the immunizations to a long line up of waiting students.
When asked why it is important for TWU to immunize its community Richardson says, "The mumps outbreak is spreading to Burnaby. We have a high risk population of young adults in a university setting and because of their close proximity and because of behaviours - students tend to swap spit more - they are at high risk."
Running as a fully set up immunization clinic, students wanting the vaccine must first sign a consent form that asks specific questions about previous immunizations. After the dose has been administered students must wait 15 minutes to see if there are any reactions to the vaccine while nursing students closely monitor them.
"Because we have a nursing program we have a total advantage in immunizing our community. This is unprecedented for a university, as Fraser Health would only give the vaccine to us if we had the capabilities to administer it to such a large group," says Richardson.
While Regehr constantly preps vaccines for nursing students to administer, Richardson explains why it's important not only for an individual to be immunized but why it's also important for the community in which they live. "The concept is called ‘herd immunity' and if 80% of the population is vaccinated we protect those 20% that maybe cannot get vaccinated due to allergies or illnesses, immune system problems. Immunized individuals protect those that aren't immunized because we aren't going to get sick and pass it on to them. However if the unprotected population gets bigger because they aren't immunized suddenly the whole herd immunity goes down and you get outbreaks."
As Anderson is poked with the needle he doesn't grimace and shows no sign of pain. He admits he didn't feel a thing. When asked if he would do it again he says a little less than enthusiastic, "Yes, if I had to."
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C. is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 40 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology and leadership, and offers interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Biblical Studies, Biology and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2008-09-25