The University is trying to obtain swine flu vaccines to administer to students when they become available in mid-October, the director of the Student Health Service said last week.
Dr. Isabel Goldenberg said GW does not yet know how many vaccines they will receive from the government, but said SHS will begin offering vaccines for the seasonal flu on Sept. 16, and will continue to educate GW students about the swine flu.
“We think because the vaccine right now is for young people, and because our population is young people, we hope that we will get some vaccines,” Goldenberg said. “How many, when, we don’t know. But we are actively trying to secure the vaccine.”
In the meantime, GW has created a task force to address the possible repercussions of an outbreak on campus. According to Sarah Baldassaro, the assistant vice president for communications, the University is looking at making Blackboard more accessible for sick students and is in talks with Sodexo to provide students with healthy meals by delivery service.
“We’re closely monitoring the developments through the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and watching very closely the development of the vaccine,” Baldassaro said.
Goldenberg said the federal government has advised those aged 18 to 24 to receive the vaccination, and University officials have had several meetings with the department of health for the District of Columbia. Sick students should move their beds as far away from other students because the flu is airborne, she added.
The CDC suggests individuals cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, wash their hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand cleaners and avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Last spring there were 5 confirmed cases of swine flu at GW. According to the latest report from the CDC, there have been 555 deaths from the virus and 8,842 hospitalizations in the U.S. since the initial outbreak last spring.