H1N1 vaccine is here for the healthy

By Matthew Boyle | mboyle@flagler.edu
Photo by Matthew Boyle

PHOTO: Nurse Lisa Mills gives junior Mary Harvey, 20, the intranasal H1N1 vaccine in the student center. Only healthy individuals can get the intranasal version.
VIDEO: Flagler College senior Ashley Kirschling receives the intranasal H1N1 vaccine.

Flagler College senior Ashley Kirschling got the H1N1 vaccine to protect her at-risk family members.

Kirschling said her two sisters and father have medical complications that put them at high-risk for H1N1. “I’m more concerned about spreading it to them,” she said.

Flagler finally received H1N1 vaccines last week, but the college only has the intranasal version. College Nurse Judy Angyalfy said the “shot” vaccines are on order.

The intranasal vaccine can only be offered to non-pregnant, healthy individuals between 2 and 49 years of age, which excludes the majority of high-risk populations. High-risk populations can only get the injected vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control says high-risk populations include pregnant women and people with chronic health disorders like asthma and diabetes.

“We are definitely getting the injectable [sic] vaccine. We just don’t know when,” Angyalfy said.

She said the college placed an order for 400 injection vaccines but has no word as to when they will arrive.

Florida Department of Health spokesperson Susan Smith said the vaccination distribution system is set up so manufacturers work directly with individual counties.

“Once orders are placed, distributors ship directly to each county’s designated location,” Smith said. “We [FDOH] do not receive a notification.”

St. Johns County Health Department spokesperson Noreen Nickola-Williams said the county is dependent on the “specialized distribution system” and can only hope for more vaccine shipments to arrive each day.

Flagler College Health Services started giving intranasal vaccines out in the student center on Oct. 29. Health Services continued vaccinating on Oct. 30.

Angyalfy said 58 people received vaccine the first day. She was surprised at the low turnout. “We were allotted a total of 200 doses,” she said.

Angyalfy thinks people interested in vaccination weren’t notified far enough in advance, mostly due to Health Services not knowing when the shipment was arriving.

Even so, 600 doses aren’t enough for everyone at Flagler.

With 2,500 students, 300 faculty members and 250 staffers, Health Services has only ordered enough for about 20 percent of the college community.

Vaccination isn’t mandatory but county and state officials say anyone who wants the vaccine will be able to get it soon. But nobody knows when the vaccines will arrive.

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