In preparation for a whirlwind summer of promoting job opportunities for students across the globe, Carl Martellino — USC’s associate vice provost for student affairs and career services — not only brushed up on his Chinese phrases and travel documents but also made sure to get all the necessary vaccinations. In this interview, he explains the steps he took to get properly vaccinated as he prepared to represent USC overseas.
What prompted your vaccinations?
I get vaccinated for my own health; I have a busy schedule with work and family and no time to be sick. But the other reason I believe in the importance of vaccines is that it allows me to be a conscientious member of the greater community — the Trojan community, my hometown and even the global community. There are many people, because of compromised immune systems or because they are too young, who are at great risk. They are not able to receive all of these vaccines, so those of us who can — as responsible members of the global community — must do so. That’s a big deal for me and a way to support others around me.
I get the influenza vaccine annually, but this year I received extra vaccines because of work travel. We recently opened USC China Career Services in Shanghai, which I visited in July. While I was in China, I also attended one of the three American Universities’ China Association career fairs. The AUCA fairs are spearheaded by China Career Services Director Wenting Wu and offered annually in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. That trip required TDAP, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations. The first two are important vaccinations to get in the United States as well.
Learning that measles outbreaks were occurring in the U.S. — including one at a restaurant only a mile from my home — prompted me to make sure I was up-to-date on the MMR vaccine. I was likely vaccinated as a child, but those records were long gone. I could have elected to have my titers drawn by my doctor to see if I had immunity, but it seemed just as easy to get vaccinated again.
Did you realize you need these vaccinations prior to your travel plans?
I knew that I had my hepatitis B vaccinations, but as for the others, I did not have fully accurate data. There were some I knew needed updating, such as TDAP. The Shangrix is a relatively newer vaccine and replaces older, less reliable versions, so I wanted to receive the best modern medicine has to offer. I now have a file with my doctor, as well as one I keep at home with all of my vaccination records.
This will be handy in case there is an outbreak of something like measles. If you cannot prove that you have been vaccinated, you may need to be quarantined. While that does sound like something of a vacation, I am too busy to be offline for any length of time. If I can take the proper precautions, why not? Plus, I would be devastated knowing that I contributed to spreading a disease that could’ve been prevented.
What advice do you have for students to embrace their ‘inner hero’?
Getting a vaccine is so easy. There are many places where it can be done. Often times, you can walk right in and get it. Be sure to check ahead of time to ensure they have the vaccine you need. And always be sure to check with your insurance plan, but vaccines are most likely covered. It is a lot less expensive for an insurance company to pay for a vaccine than pay the potential costs for hospitalization.
Beyond thinking about yourself, think about others. Think of the infant who cannot get immunized and needs you to protect them. Or the person undergoing a life-threatening illness that compromises his or her immunity. By getting vaccinated, you are literally walking around saving lives. That’s a great feeling.
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