Health Update: Vaccine Availability on Campus

Ryan Smith

Since Colgate’s first documented case of “flu-like symptoms” on campus, Dr. Merrill Miller and her staff at the Student Health Center have treated “over 302 cases,” Miller said.

Recent developments bring both good and bad news. Miller explained that the H1N1 flu is believed to be cyclical with “resurgence every three to four months.” Fortunately for Colgate, the university finds itself “for the past week or so, on a lull where we are only seeing 1 or 2 cases a day,” as opposed to the upwards of 15 daily cases seen several weeks ago.

“We’ve given close to 1200 doses of the regular vaccine and 825 doses of the H1N1 vaccine, and now, we, like the rest of the country, are waiting for additional supplies,” Miller said.

Miller stressed the importance of the current H1N1 lull as an opportune time for community immunization. Unfortunately, Miller needs the “700 doses on backorder for the seasonal flu and 1400 on backorder for the H1N1,” to immunize every willing individual on campus.

“We watch everyday for the FedEx truck to arrive,” Miller said.

On the whole, Colgate received more doses than ever before. In this regard, Colgate is in relatively good standing when compared to the many hospitals, private physicians and local health departments that have been completely out of vaccinations for some time now.

Regardless, Miller is optimistic that Colgate’s supply will be replenished soon.

“[We are hoping] to receive more vaccinations next Tuesday,” she said.

The seasonal flu vaccine shortage is largely due to the fact that two major producers of the regular vaccine have devoted all of their resources to H1N1 vaccine production.

 “Unfortunately, we need both,” Miller said.

When Colgate’s supply is again restocked, Miller hopes to distribute the vaccinations promptly to those on campus who would like to be immunized. Miller emphasized the importance of being vaccinated for both H1N1 flu and the seasonal flu even if an individual believes he was already infected.

“There are several different types of flu out there and since we do not know for a fact that what people had was H1N1, the recommendation from the New York State Department of Health is that everybody go ahead and get both flu shots,” Miller said.