Students will be given priority for the free shots at the Student Health Center.
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The Student Health Center at the University of La Verne is offering the H1N1 influenza virus vaccine to students for free, while supplies last.
Approximately 165 doses have been administered out of the 400 doses received from the Los Angeles County Health Department. The vaccine offered at La Verne is killed or inactivated shot unlike the nasal spray vaccine, which is made with live, weakend virus.
“The same manufacturers who produce seasonal flu shots are producing 2009 H1N1 flu shots for use in the United States this season,” said Kristen Nordlund, spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The targeted groups who are more likely to get the H1N1 virus include children and young adults aged 6 months to 24 years of age, said Cindy Denne, director of student health services and services for students with disabilities.
Those who suffer from pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease or any other chronic disease are advised to receive the vaccine.
“The 400 doses was paid for with our tax dollars,” Denne said. It is intended for our student population. My hope is that all 400 are given to students.”
“The vaccine is made the same way the seasonal flu vaccine is made,” Nordlund said. “We are confident it is safe. The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines are expected to have similar safety profiles as seasonal flu vaccines, which have very good safety track records.”
“Why would you not get it?” Denne said.
Students are being given priority over faculty since they are part of the targeted group. However, if there is extra vaccine, the vaccine will be offered to staff and faculty, Denne said.
“Students should get vaccinated if possible,” said Bartley G. Yee, assistant professor of the department of family medicine at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and one of the medical providers at the Health Center.
The reason why people aged 25 and older are not part of the targeted group is because there is evidence that people ages of 25 and older have come across the H1N1 virus some time in their life and have built some immunity to it, Denne said.
Many are hesitant to receive the vaccine because it contains mercury.
Some of the 2009 H1N1 vaccines contain thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative. In order to prevent bacteria and fungi from getting into the vaccines, vaccine in multi-dose vials contain thimerosal, Nordlund said.
There are no scientific findings yet supporting that there is a connection to thimerosal and autism, Yee said.
“The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine that have been FDA approved will be manufactured in several formulations,” Nordlund said. “Some will come in multi-dose vials and will contain thimerosal as a preservative. Some vaccine manufacturers will be producing 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in single-dose units, which will not require the use of thimerosal as a preservative.”
This preservative has been used for decades in the United States, Nordlund said.
“The vaccine seems to be in high demand,” Yee said. “Some areas are getting less vaccines than they anticipated.”
However, Nordlund said there will be enough H1N1 vaccine for those who want to get it.
“There can be some side effects, such as discomfort, soreness, redness at injection site, fever and slight nausea,” Yee said. “Major full blown allergic reaction is pretty rare.”
If a person is allergic to eggs, he advises they do more research and speak with their primary doctor, Yee said. Once a person receives the H1N1 vaccine, it takes about two to three weeks for them to build immunity to the H1N1 virus, Yee said.
Yee advises everyone to be cautious of the people around you. If you know someone is sick, keep your distance. Yee also added that people should constantly wash their hands or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
It is still uncertain that the H1N1 vaccine will be administered annually as the seasonal flu vaccine.
“At this point, since H1N1 is a new influenza virus, we don’t know if it will be included in the seasonal influenza vaccine,” Nordlund said.
According to Nordlund, the CDC recommends people who have already been sick with flu get vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine.
Natalie Veissalov can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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