H1N1 flu vaccines to be available on campus soon

While concern about the H1N1 flu remains, vaccines for the disease are scarce but should be available on campus soon, a university official said.

Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said Texas has not received the vaccines the state requested.

“The state of Texas had originally asked for 8 million doses and right now they’ve been granted 142,000,” Mills said. “Those are being allocated to people at risk and health care workers. We expect to get some vaccine towards the end of the month, but we don’t know how much or exactly when.”

Mills said the university requested about 10,000 doses. Students with present health risks, like asthma or diabetes, and those living on campus will be the first to be given the option for H1N1 vaccination if the number of students wishing to get vaccinated outpaces the number of available doses, he said.

A survey sent out to campus residents last week aimed to help measure the on-campus attitude toward potential vaccine availability, Mills said.

“It’s just to help us in planning a little bit,” Mills said. “Let’s say we get 1,000 doses…if only 1,000 resident students said they want to have any kind of a vaccine, then that tells us something.”

Mills said there are still students going to the University Health Center with flu-like symptoms. Students should talk with their parents about the H1N1 vaccinations, he said.

“When we do get the vaccine, we want to be sure that people have talked it over with their parents, because some people don’t want to get the vaccination, others do,” Mills said. “We think people ought to make an informed decision.”

Al Roy, public information officer of Tarrant County, said that since May 27, 40 people have been hospitalized with H1N1 in the county.

Chief epidemiologist for Tarrant County Public Health Anita Kurian said the number of H1N1 cases has been increasing each week. Kurian said the virus shows no signs of slowing.

H1N1 vaccine doses are slowly streaming into Texas, but they are not coming in all at once, Kurian said. She recommended getting both the seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 vaccine, when possible.

Mills said he also advises students to get both vaccinations. He said there will be an on-campus opportunity on Friday for students to receive the seasonal flu vaccination.

According to the Office of Communications, the university recently received more than 1,000 doses of seasonal flu vaccine, which will be administered for free to campus members Friday in the University Recreation Center.

Kurian said the best way to stay healthy is to use common sense. She said staying away from sick people, throwing away tissues used to cough or sneeze into and frequently washing hands will help ward off the flu of any kind.

Seasonal flu vaccine

When: Friday, Oct. 23

Where: University Recreation Center Multi-Purpose Room 1

Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Who: All students, faculty and staff; ID is required

Types of H1N1 vaccine: needle injection to the arm, nasal spray

Target groups for H1N1 vaccination nasal spray: In Texas, for 2- and 3-year-olds

Target groups for H1N1 vaccination needle injection: Pregnant women and children 4 years through 18 years of age who are at a higher risk of serious consequences

Number of doses purchased by federal government: 250 million

Number of doses expected in Texas by the end of January: 15 million