Peter Caty/The Mirror

Peter Caty/The Mirror

The first supply of H1N1 vaccines arrived in the Health Center last week, but with very strict distribution guidelines making the vaccines unavailable to the majority of students and faculty.

Despite the three cases of swine flu and the 60 cases of flu-like symptoms reported so far, Fairfield is being very selective in its distribution of the vaccine. As outlined in a University message sent to all students and faculty, the Health Center will be issuing vaccines only to individuals with serious medical conditions.

“Students and faculty and staff members who do not have underlying health conditions are NOT eligible to be vaccinated with this initial limited supply,” the message outlined. Some of the qualifying health conditions include asthma, diabetes, blood disorders, and weakened immune systems.

The limited availability of vaccines became even more frustrating for many students when they heard about other universities making the vaccine more widely available.

Last week, Loyola University in New Orleans held a series of clinics that offered free H1N1 vaccines to all students. Fordham University is holding clinics this week offering both H1N1 and season flu vaccines to its students as well.

Yet Fairfield, which “was approved to receive and distribute H1N1 vaccine to members of the University community who fall within the approved target populations”, according to the University message, still has yet to provide information to the University community about a larger availability of vaccines.

“Everyone should be able to be immunized. If someone’s really scared [about contracting the flu], they should be able to, not be restricted by campus,” said Jessica Soyer ‘13.

Chelsea Pabon ‘12 agreed. “They definitely should [have more vaccines available], especially on campus; people are dropping like flies, and it’s affecting their schoolwork,” she said.

It is still unknown to the greater University community when the next supply of  H1N1 will be arriving, although in the University message the health center said, “As [the] vaccine becomes more widely available in the coming weeks, community members wishing to be vaccinated should have access to the vaccine at Fairfield University.” It also explained that students will be able to secure vaccines from either the Fairfield health department or from their own physician.

Yet even once the H1N1 vaccines become available, not all students will be lining up to be vaccinated.

“I feel like they shouldn’t [vaccinate students] — half the time vaccines don’t even work,” said Daniel Malone  ‘13.

Peter Lyons ‘13 agreed, saying, “I think people should not get the vaccine. People have a better chance of getting the virus when you bring it into contact with them.”

“I don’t want the vaccine,” said Sam Goodnow  ‘13. “I take other precautions.”

Such precautions, such as rigorous hand-washing, use of hand sanitizers, and covering your mouth when you cough, are all important “proactive steps to minimize exposure to the flu and other illnesses,” the Health Center message noted.

Some students question the safety of the vaccine. Because the vaccine was produced so quickly to meet national demands, many worry that it has not been through the same precautionary examinations as the regular seasonal flu vaccine or others like it.

Yet despite such fears, the Centers for Disease Control maintain that the vaccine is just as safe as a regular seasonal flu vaccine-as long as it’s available to those who want it.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.