GW’s Student Health Service Center will not receive influenza vaccines until early December because pharmaceutical companies are unable to manufacture the proper strain for the vaccine, said Dr. Isabel Goldenberg, director of Student Health.
Goldenberg said GW should receive the vaccines before the flu season, which is December to March, according to The Seattle Times. She does not believe any flu cases have been reported in the D.C. area yet.
GW ordered 1,000 flu vaccines this year, an increase of 300 from last year, Goldenberg said. She said the office ordered more vaccines because Student Health records showed a 20 percent increase in the number of students affected with influenza around the nation.
Student Health may only receive a small amount of vaccines in its first shipment because of the nationwide shortage. High-risk patients will be the first to be treated, she said.
High-risk cases include people with asthma, diabetes, HIV, the elderly and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or a background of chronic illnesses.
The Center for Disease Control Prevention is doing everything possible to produce vaccines for the public, according to a CDC press release.
The influenza vaccine begins working a week to 10 days after doctors administer the shot, and Goldenberg said she hopes the shipments arrive soon to decrease the possibility of a severe outbreak of the flu.
Student Health is trying to make it as convenient as possible to receive the influenza vaccine by having stations in the Marvin Center and some of the residence halls such as Thurston Hall and the Hall on Virginia Avenue, she said.
The flu shot costs $15 and takes about 15 minutes to administer.
Despite necessary medical recommendations needed to get the vaccine, some students said they are skeptical about the medication.
I have never gotten a bad case of the flu before so I don’t see the point in getting vaccinated, freshman Jen Tobia said.
To reduce the risk of contracting the flu, doctors and pharmacists suggest getting the flu vaccination as soon as it becomes available.
We encourage all students, especially those who have a higher risk of getting the flu to come and get vaccinated for a healthier winter, Goldenberg said.