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UWRF campus, clinics continue to fight against H1N1

November 5, 2009

Wednesday’s vaccine clinic was canceled due to H1N1 vaccine availability and distribution being slower than expected in the Wisconsin area.

Now that flu season is underway, students, faculty and staff are starting to see the effects that H1N1 is taking on the UW-River Falls campus. With students missing classes, professors are finding that their attendance policies have had to change.

With these concerns on faculty and students’ minds, Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor, said he has made it a priority to keep students informed on updates about vaccine clinics as well as items of note about flu season.

“We have sent the campus community frequent updates regarding the availability of vaccination clinics and everyday preventative measures,” Fry said.

Although the Wednesday’s clinic was canceled, the Dec. 2 clinic will go along as planned. So far, Wisconsin has only received a small percentage of the vaccine needed for the five target groups of people, according to Fry.

There are other options available for those in the River Falls area at this time. The Econo Foods Pharmacy is carrying the intranasal H1N1 vaccine, the only form that is currently available, for $10 for healthy 18-24 years-olds. Econo Foods and Shopko pharmacies are also carrying the seasonal flu vaccine as well at this time. Walgreens’ supply of the seasonal flu vaccine currently is exhausted and they do not anticipate anymore coming in at this time, according to head manager of Walgreens pharmacy, Jeb Wilson.

The intranasal shot is inexpensive, making it the choice of many students on campus. 

“The intranasal shot was quick and painless; it gives me peace of mind to know that I am at least somewhat protect from the virus during this flu season,” junior Katie Berends said.

Because of the shortages of the H1N1 vaccine the target groups have changed to include pregnant women, those living with children under six months old, healthcare and EMS workers, children 5-18 years-old with medical conditions placing them at higher risk, and children six months through four years of age, according to the Student Health Services Web site.

“At this time clinics are only administering the H1N1 shot to those with the highest risk within the target groups, we are hoping that the target groups will expand in the future to provide more people on campus with the vaccine during our clinic,” Alice Reilly-Myklebust, director of Student Health Services, said.

Campus administration has made it a point to work with community officials in this matter to ensure that students, staff and faculty are receiving the best treatment.

“We are in constant communication with health officials at the city, county and state level about the current stats of the H1N1 virus and the availability of the vaccine,” Fry said.

Students seeking more information on H1N1 can use the Student Health Services Web site for more updates at this time.

“We have made a concerted effort to inform the campus about vaccination clinics, to promote preventative measures, and to encourage faculty to institute flexible attendance polices and delivery methods,” Chancellor Dean Van Galen said. “Thus far we have been fortunate because we have not been impacted to the same extent as many other campuses.”