‘High risk’ students, faculty receive flu shots

The College’s office of Health Services distributed limited quantities of the flu vaccine to those who fell into “high risk” categories, leaving an extremely small amount for the general public on Oct. 21 – just days before state legislation was passed restricting the vaccine from distribution to those not in the high risk category.

Health Services acquired 300 doses of flu vaccine, and despite long lines, the doses lasted until 4 p.m. The vaccine, injected via needle, cost $15. The high-risk category included those who were pregnant and those who had asthma or diabetes.

Available for non-high risk students and faculty were $40 “FluMist” nasal sprays, which contain a weakened version of the virus.

According to Janice Vermeychuk, associate director of Health Services, the earlier part of the day was somewhat chaotic, as some who desired vaccination became upset when they weren’t considered eligible.

In order to separate those eligible for the vaccine from the others, potential recipients were required to fill out forms that verified whether or not they were eligible for the flu shot.

When the clinic opened in the morning, there was already a line of potential recipients waiting at the door, some who had arrived an hour early. At 11 a.m., there was still a long wait for any who wanted to get a shot.

Vermeychuk said Passport Health, the company from which the College received its flu shot rations, was only able to provide Health Services with two trained nurses to administer the vaccine.

By 2 p.m., the flood of people had died down, and 217 of the 300 flu vaccines had been administered. By 4 p.m., the staff had finished using what vaccine was available.

Despite the small amount of vaccine Health Services had, it was lucky – many college campuses have not received any at all.

When vaccines again become available, Vermeychuk said she hopes more students will come for a shot.

“College students are very vulnerable to disease due to their close living conditions,” she said.

Until more can be produced, students were advised to get as much rest as possible.

Even though there are no more vaccinations available, Health Services is still offering medication to anyone who comes down with the flu, which would help reduce the length of the disease by a day or two.