Student Health distributes 1,000 swine flu vaccines

The Student Health Service has exhausted its supply of 1,000 H1N1 vaccines, the director of SHS said Friday.

On Wednesday, an Infomail went out informing students that swine flu vaccines had arrived at SHS and that those under the age of 24 could receive the vaccine free of charge. After that announcement, SHS administered 300 H1N1 vaccines over the course of two hours, SHS Director Isabel Goldenberg said. The rest of the vaccine supply was administered by Friday.

“So far we have received 1,000 doses [of the H1N1 vaccine],” Goldenberg said. “We were expecting a good response from the students and we had it.”

Over the course of the semester, SHS has seen about 700 cases of influenza-like illness among students, Goldenberg said, adding that she expects many cases went unreported because students stayed in their dorms or went to other health care facilities.

“We continue to monitor and report cases and [their] severity,” Goldenberg said, noting that SHS has seen about 10 to 12 cases per week over the past month. In September, however, Goldenberg said SHS diagnosed about 40 to 50 cases daily.

Students interviewed around campus had conflicting opinions regarding the swine flu vaccine and virus.

“I don’t feel it’s necessary to get vaccines, especially when there are such low quantities,” junior Jason Aul said. “I think people with underlying conditions should get the vaccine because they are the people in danger.”

Other students said they were not getting the vaccine because they do not believe the virus is as dangerous as the media have portrayed over the past half a year.

“It just doesn’t seem like the swine flu is that debilitating,” freshman Mariel Murphy said.

Other students said they had friends and family members who had gotten sick, and were able to recover from the virus well.

Rebecca Kelmenson, a freshman, said she is not getting the vaccine because she already had the H1N1 virus.

“I went to the doctor, and at a certain point they stopped testing everyone and just started treating people, because everyone had it,” Kelmenson said.

For those students who were unable to receive the vaccine, Goldenberg said she expects another shipment to arrive, though she does not know how many vaccines will come, or when they will arrive.

Additionally, Goldenberg said SHS will continue to give vaccines for the seasonal influenza. They gave 900 vaccines out of a shipment of 1,400 the week of Nov. 15.

Goldenberg said students are encouraged to check campus advisories and the SHS Web site for more information regarding the two vaccines.

“Prevention with a vaccine is the best way of protection,” Goldenberg said.

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