Health center: H1N1 should continue to decrease

The university administered about 42 percent of the 2,900 H1N1 vaccine doses it received in December and returned the rest, according to the Brown-Lupton Health Center.

Stacey Simpson, administrative assistant at the Brown-Lupton Health Center, wrote in an e-mail that the health center received the 2,900 doses from the Tarrant County Public Health Department and administered 1,211 to students and faculty before returning 1,600 to the health department. The health center began offering the vaccine to all enrolled students Dec. 11.

Dr. Jane Torgerson, health center medical director, said that although college students are within the high-risk age range, 6 months to 24 years, students may have declined the vaccine because they had never caught the flu previously and thought they were not at risk. The levels of influenza have subsided, and the health center does not expect as many people to come in with flu-like symptoms, she said.

“It’s still a good idea to continue washing your hands (and to) sneeze into arms to prevent all kinds of infectious diseases, not just H1N1,” Torgerson said.

The university originally requested 10,000 doses but did not receive the full amount because priority was given to high-risk patients, like pregnant women and nurses who tend to sick people every day, said Carrie Williams, spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Fewer than 100 doses remain at the health center for distribution this semester.

The university no longer tests students for H1N1 because of the high cost of the test, said Don Mills, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. The testing procedure for H1N1 costs several hundred dollars per person, he said.

“We will test to see if people have the flu, but the treatment for seasonal and swine flu (Tamiflu) is the same,” Mills said.

University officials plan to continue taking precautions to prevent the spread of H1N1, Mills said. Stationing hand sanitizer dispensers around campus and encouraging people to self-isolate if they have the flu are among precautions that will still be in place, even if H1N1 is no longer a concern, Mills said.

KinderFrogs also planned to continue taking precautions to prevent H1N1 from spreading to students there, even though no diagnosed cases have been reported, said Marilyn Tolbert, director of laboratory schools at KinderFrogs.

“We’re checking to see if people look ill and asking them to wash their hands before coming in,” Tolbert said. “We encourage (vaccination), but don’t require it.”

KinderFrogs kept parents informed about H1N1 by sending out links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site as well as information about where they could obtain vaccines in the area.

For a list of local clinics offering the vaccine, visit the Tarrant County Public Health Web site.

By the Numbers:

2,900

H1N1 vaccine doses received by TCU

1,211

Doses administered

1,600

Doses returned