Tatum urges students to get flu shots

Florida A&M University CASS Building
Photo Credit: Lyneisha Lewis

The influenza virus – commonly called the flu — is discovered all year round in the
United States. Flu activity often peaks between December and February, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu activity usually begins to rise around October. Now that homecoming is over, cases
are beginning to rise at Florida A&M University.

Allera Jones is a pre-physical therapy major at FAMU who tested positive for the flu. “My
body is fragile; my body temperature was over 100 degrees, I have no energy; I can’t keep fluids
digested,” Jones said.

She said she was so eager to enjoy her first homecoming that she forgot to get a flu shot
and stay safe by wearing a mask to all the festivities.

According to the CDC, individuals who have the flu can pass it on to others. The flu
viruses travel mostly through droplets produced when persons with the flu cough, sneeze or
talk. People may catch the flu by touching an object with the flu virus and then touching their
mouth, nose or eyes.

Jones was big on taking her vitamins and taking great care of her body. She said that not
wearing a mask was one of her biggest mistakes while attending FAMU homecoming activities.

“I never forgot about COVID-19 still being a real virus, but also, it’s flu season. I should’ve been
more careful and taken precautions at events. I was just too excited about the festivities, and it
slipped my mind,” Jones said.

FAMU Student Health Services Director Tanya Tatum said her staff is encouraging
students to get flu shots this season. “We’re really pushing flu vaccines this year,” Tatum said.
She said she expects a heavy flu season this year because some individuals no longer
practice mask wearing or any health safety precautions.

“That’s what they saw in some other countries like Australia and South America, so
we’re hoping people will choose to get their flu shots,” Tatum said.

Tatum said that flu cases have already been detected on FAMU’s campus and could
possibly rise in numbers. Still, the Raiven project is taking place at the student health center to
encourage and reward individuals for taking their flu shots.

“Individuals who participate can earn up to $195 if they participate, which means
getting the flu shot,” Tatum said. Student Health Services will send information about this
project out on FAMU info, iStrike, and you can receive more information just by stopping by the