Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

H1N1 vaccine stocks prompt new call to arms

It wasn’t very long ago that H1N1 shots were hard to come by and availability limited to high-risk groups. No more.

DU’s Health and Counseling Center has some 1,300 doses of the vaccine left and is working hard to find people willing to be inoculated.

The call to arms is continuing because the H1N1 virus isn’t going away, says Bryndi Schult, H1N1 nurse coordinator at the Health and Counseling Center.

“H1N1 arrived in the U.S. in April and has been here since,” she says. “We don’t know if there’s going to be another wave or when it will end.”

As of mid-January, the health center administered about 1,800 doses of seasonal flu vaccine in addition to some 2,300 doses of the H1N1 vaccine. Most recipients were members of the campus community, Schult says, but the totals also include more than 50 community members.

Health Center personnel plan to continue the H1N1 vaccine clinics on the Driscoll Bridge and are circulating e-mails to encourage people in the community to take advantage of the free offer. Seasonal flu shots are no longer available, but H1N1 shots will be given from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 27 and Feb. 11, 18 and 24.

The appeal is in line with advice from federal health officials, who continue to recommend vaccination.

“Because supply and availability of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine have increased dramatically,” the Centers for Disease Control states on its Web site, “CDC is now encouraging everyone who has been patiently waiting to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine to get vaccinated.”

The World Health Organization says H1N1 has killed 13,354 people worldwide and continues to be especially active in North Africa, South Asia and south and southeastern Europe. Activity in North America peaked in October, WHO reports, and pandemic activity in temperate zones is “declining.”

“Our current assessment is that it remains too early to say that the pandemic is over,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, pandemic flu adviser to WHO on Jan. 14. He described the worldwide health threat as “moderate but ongoing.”

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