The Collegian
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Swine flu vaccine arrives, more doses to come

One hundred and eighty students lined up for the Student Health Center's H1N1 vaccine in the Gottwald Science Center atrium from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Health center officials had requested doses of the vaccine and received some last Tuesday, which Dr. Lynne Deane, the Center's medical director, said was earlier than they had expected. Health center officials requested 3,500 doses, but received only 300 in Tuesday's shipment. The health center ran clinics last Thursday and Friday to vaccinate health center staff, EMS members and 100 self-identified high-risk students, she said.

According to the vaccine information statement distributed to each person getting vaccinated, groups recommended to receive the vaccine first are: pregnant women, people who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months old, health care and emergency personnel, anyone from 6 months to 24 years old and anyone 25 to 64 years old with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems. The health center requested only injections, rather than the nasal mist, because pediatricians need the nasal mist to use for children, Deane said.

Steve Bisese, vice president for student development, said it had been proven with seasonal flu that the more people who were vaccinated, the more the population would be protected.

"This was our first allotment, and of course we hope for more," he said. "Since we're a residential population, so many people living close together, infection can spread quicker."

The students who decided to be vaccinated did so for various reasons. Senior Brittany Taylor said she had promised her mom she would get vaccinated. Senior Jess Walradt said she had been encouraged to get vaccinated by her primary physician but had first asked her senior thesis adviser on health care, Rick Mayes, whether it was safe.

"I had the flu over the summer and it sucks," she said.

German exchange student Anna Weiz said she frequently traveled to New York and Boston and wanted to do as much as possible so to prevent catching H1N1 on the subway.

Susannah Coltman, an exchange student from the United Kingdom, said, "I came because you can't get it in Britain and I wanted to take advantage of the American public health service."

As the line snaked around from the science center entrance to its main atrium, students were studying from textbooks, reading novels, highlighting articles, listening to iPods, chatting in clusters and standing idly, but they were all there to "lick the flu," just as their red lollipops said.

Contact staff writer Avril Lighty at avril.lighty@richmond.edu

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