Each fall, when the college holds a flu shot clinic on campus, the Human Resources Office sends an email to all campus denizens, reminding them to make an appointment. Then biology professor Rachel Bergstrom follows up with her pitch, which she actually writes in red:
GETTING YOUR FLU SHOT IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF OUR COMMUNITY AS WE HEAD INTO THE FALL AND WINTER MONTHS.
She goes on to explain “herd immunity,” the idea that a lot of people need to be vaccinated to stop a disease from spreading. Vaccinated people act like barriers to outbreaks and protect the most vulnerable who cannot get vaccinations due to certain health conditions or allergies. “We have faculty, staff, and students on our campus who cannot get vaccinations for medical reasons, so it is up to those of us who can be vaccinated to do what we can to protect them,” she writes. Bergstrom is a neuroscientist who teaches about emerging infectious diseases, cell biology, and neurobiology.