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Vaccination effort suffers low attendance

Katie Perry | Friday, October 29, 2004

Despite concern over whether the University would be able to adequately supply flu vaccines to the specified population of high-risk individuals at Notre Dame, only half the number of individuals anticipated by Health Services showed up for the Thursday vaccination clinic.

Approximately 1,000 doses of the vaccine were administered, out of a total supply of nearly twice that amount. High-risk faculty and staff members received roughly two-thirds of this total, while students of this same identification comprised the remainder.

“The University spent additional funds to ensure the entire high-risk population could be provided with vaccination,” Health Services director Ann Kleva said.

The abundance of vaccinations remaining has prompted Health Services to hold more clinics in the coming weeks. According to Kleva, there is still a large number of high-risk individuals on campus who have not received the vaccine.

The University plans to keep the supply on campus until it has been exhausted by the population of students, faculty and staff who have a heightened risk of contracting the virus.

“We are strongly encouraging the remaining high-risk individuals to come in,” Kleva said. “It’s extremely important they are vaccinated.”

Dates, times and locations for these extended clinics will be announced in the form of a pending campus-wide email.

For the future clinics, Health Services will expand its definition of high-risk to include those individuals living on campus who have an infant and University priests over the age of 65. If a surplus still remains after these offerings, the University plans to donate the remainder of its supply to various other agencies and venues in the community – including Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross.

In response to the suspension of a crucial manufacturing license at the Chiron Corporation – Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s sole provider of the vaccine – the University was forced to seek out alternative supplies for its high-risk population. The supply used for the recent vaccinations was obtained from an Ohio-based company run by a graduate of Saint Mary’s College. Kleva was unable to disclose the name of this company.

In November, Health Services will offer the intranasal influenza vaccine FluMist to all members of the community who are younger than 50 and demonstrate good health. The University has acquired roughly 700 doses and will offer the vaccine for a fee of $20.

In contrast with the chaos looming across the country regarding the shortage, Kleva described Thursday’s clinic as “efficient and enjoyable.” The recent media hype caused some individuals to bring chairs in anticipation for a six to seven hour wait, but Kleva said that 350 shots were administered in the first 75 minutes alone.