Student Health has used or assigned all 300 doses of the flu vaccine they have, and are now putting students on a waiting list, Student Health Director MarJeanne Collins said. The unusually high number of students requesting shots follows predictions by the federal Centers for Disease Control that this year's flu season would be one of the worst in years. It also follows reports by makers of the vaccinations that they have already distributed all of the shots they produced for this season. But Collins said that Student Health will attempt to get additional doses if demand keeps up. "By the end of the week we will look at how many students remain on the list and then we will see if we can get more vaccine," Collins said. Collins said that although there is already a waiting list, she is encouraging students to sign up as soon as possible to protect themselves from the disease. The shots cost $5. While the influenza virus has not yet reached Philadelphia, Collins said that there are signs that this year's flu season will be coming soon. "We're reaching the beginning of the flu season and schools have been closed in the South," Collins said. This number is significantly higher than last year, when the Hospital gave approximately 4500 injections of the flu vaccine. The increased demand resulted in a period of five days last month when HUP was without the vaccine. But Grimm added that HUP has received another shipment and still has almost 500 shots available. According to Grimm, the increase is largely attributable to an increase in hospital employees who are receiving the vaccine. "Hospital program employees have taken twice as many doses as last year," Grimm said. This year, HUP Organizational Services organized a new program which offered $15 flu shots to University faculty and employees. However, the walk-in program has been temporarily discontinued to give priority to workers "in the Hospital community," according to Emergency Department Administrator Sue Canning. "We can't afford to have our staff members give the flu to our patients," Canning said. The moratorium, which restricts the vaccine to Medical Center employees, will continue until December 10, after which time the remaining doses will be again offered to the rest of the University community. "The flu season is starting early and we've had to deal with and increased spurt [in people wanting the shots] which was unexpected," Canning said.Comments powered by Disqus
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