H1N1 vaccine available to larger population of students

After only being available to certain healthcare professionals and students, a limited supply of the H1N1 vaccine is now available to a larger portion of the student population.

There are currently 1,100 cases on campus and it important that students take advantage of the vaccines, David Lawrance said, McKinley Health Center’s medical director. The first 800 doses, of 40,000 total, of the H1N1 flu vaccine are now available and are already being administered to students who have scheduled an appointment.

McKinley is not currently planning any mass vaccination clinics, as there are not enough doses to warrant that need yet, Dr. Lawrance explained.

Centers are not being notified before vaccines are shipped to them so McKinley does not know when the next round will arrive, Lawrance said. McKinley has communicated with the Illinois Department of Public Health to encourage them to consider the University a priority.

Manufacturers of the vaccination have had trouble filling requests, as 23 million doses will be shipped by the end of October, instead of the estimated 40 million.

Eligible students must:

  • Not have a weakened immune system
  • Not have asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, anemia, swallowing, or breathing problems
  • Not be taking long-term aspirin treatment for rheumatic heart disease
  • Not be in close contact with a patient in a bone marrow transplant unit
  • Not have a severe egg allergy
  • Not be older than 24 years old
  • Not be pregnant,

according to McKinley’s website.

University staff members should be able to get the vaccine from their respective providers, eventually, according to director Dr. Lawrance.

The intranasal spray is best for students without any medical complications, and an injectable form will be available soon for those with minor health complications hopefully, Dr. Lawrance said.

“If I were a student and could get the intranasal vaccine, I’d be thrilled,” Dr. Lawrance said in an e-mail to the Daily Illini. “We also want a lot of the injectable vaccine so that we can begin immunizing students most likely to have complications from influenza, the 10% or more of the student population who have asthma or diabetes. Hopefully, they will ship us some, soon.”

Eligible students who wish to receive may schedule an appointment on McKinley’s website or by phone.

Hilary Osborn contributed to this report.