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H1N1 Flu Vaccine Expected to Arrive at CSULB in Mid-October

Published: October 15, 2009

Student Health Services (SHS) at CSULB is expecting some 3,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available to the public. Currently, the release of the vaccine is expected to be in mid-October.

Because of the limited number of vaccines available, CSULB health center officials in collaboration with Long Beach Public Health have determined that the university’s initial allotment of the vaccine will be used primarily for students and employees living or working in the campus’ student housing areas, including fraternity and sorority houses.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that one of the key populations at risk for getting the H1N1 flu are people between the ages of 6 months to 24 years. Most of the students who live in our campus housing facilities fall within that age group,” said Dr. Michael Carbuto, director of student health services and chief of the medical staff. “Because of the close living quarters, close contact and the potential for the spread of the flu among these students, which we have already heard about at other college and universities across the country, we will focus our initial vaccination efforts on students living in campus housing and fraternity and sorority houses.”

Last spring, a CSULB student living in campus housing was the first confirmed case of H1N1 (swine flu) in Los Angeles County. She was immediately isolated from other housing students, and the room and other areas she used were cleaned and disinfected. There was no spread of the flu to other students in this case. There were two additional confirmed student cases of H1N1 in the late spring and early summer. Neither of these cases was related to the student living in campus housing.

Faculty and staff are being encouraged to contact their individual health care providers to check on the availability of and process for receiving the H1N1 vaccine. Health care providers such as Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield will be receiving their own allotment of the vaccine, and each provider is coming up with its own plan for distribution.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that H1N1 vaccination efforts focus on the following five key populations:

• People between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age;
• Health care and emergency services personnel;
• Pregnant women;
• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age;
• People from ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for complications from pandemic H1N1 flu infection because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

“It is important to note that illness from the pandemic H1N1 flu has been mostly mild. The vast majority of cases have gotten better without the need to see a health care provider or receive special treatment,” Carbuto pointed out. “Those individuals within the at-risk populations as identified by the CDC should seriously consider getting the H1N1 vaccination.”

Because it is impossible to know where the flu virus might be contacted, Carbuto wanted to emphasize to the campus community the importance of practicing the critical components of healthy behavior. These practices include frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into tissues or clothing, getting enough exercise and sleep, and eating good foods.

People should also know the signs and symptoms of the flu, both seasonal and H1N1. Symptoms for both strains are similar and include fever with a cough and/or sore throat. Other symptoms of influenza-like illness include body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. H1N1may also cause diarrhea and vomiting.

“It is also important to reiterate that if you are not feeling well – whether you are a student, a faculty member or a staff member – you should not be in class or at work,” Carbuto added. “In fact, anyone with flu or flu-like illness should go home and stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.”

The campus community will be informed when the H1N1 flu vaccine is available.

Those interested in learning more about the seasonal flu or H1N1 can visit the CDC Web site. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Web site also has some good resources to help educate people about the flu and improve healthy habits at its Web site.

For more information about the H1N1 flu vaccination plan at CSULB, contact Student Health Services at 562/985-4609 or visit the SHS Web site.