Flu shots limited to students most at risk
Posted October 6, 2004; 03:19 p.m.
Due to a nationwide shortage of the influenza vaccine, University Health Services will not be able to offer flu shots this year to the general population of the University community as it has in previous years.
The vaccine will be made available only to students with serious medical conditions that render them at greater risk to severe complications of influenza, said Dr. Daniel Silverman, the University's chief medical officer. University Health Services will contact those students immediately to schedule appointments for immunization.
On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a public advisory warning of the vaccine shortage. Health Services was notified today by its pharmaceutical supplier that it would not receive its shipment of the vaccine, Silverman said.
"Our immediate objective is to immunize students with those medical conditions who are most vulnerable to influenza and are at risk for its most severe symptoms and complications," Silverman said, noting that influenza is much more serious than the common cold or flu symptoms suffered by most healthy individuals during the winter months. "Healthy people have a much greater ability to ward off influenza if they follow simple preventive practices such as frequent hand washing, covering their cough and not sharing drinking containers and eating utensils."
The CDC issued an advisory to health care providers to limit vaccinations to individuals in high-risk populations. Vaccination priority groups include individuals 65 years and older, children 6 to 23 months and all people with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases such as cancer.
Faculty and staff who need the vaccine should seek it from their primary-care physicians. The CDC is recommending that healthy people who are not at risk forgo the influenza shot this year.
More information about the influenza immunization and prevention is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site . Illness prevention tips are available on the University Health Services Web site.
Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601