While other local facilities have an ample supply, UCSB Student Health has nearly exhausted its stock of the influenza vaccine due to a high volume of students, faculty and staff seeking inoculation against illness.

Student Health Acting Director Dr. Elizabeth Downing said the Student Health Pharmacy expects to receive an additional 75 to 100 doses of the vaccine within the next week. In total, 300 extra vaccine shots have been ordered, but their distribution will be restricted to those with chronic medical conditions. However, even those without a medical condition can still obtain a shot at one of the other local vaccination clinics, including Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, which has far from depleted its original order of 8,000 doses, said hospital spokesperson Janet O’Neill.

From now until the end of the season, Downing said, Student Health will only give the $15 shot to people with conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

“We’re going to mostly reserve [the vaccines] for high-risk students,” she said.

Downing said fear of vaccine shortages was likely the main factor behind the unprecedented amount of students, staff and faculty who requested the flu vaccine at Student Health this year. She said fear of the highly publicized avian flu might also have caused the increased demand.

Contrary to public belief, however, the flu shots being distributed do not protect against avian flu, and no vaccine currently exists for the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, no human cases of avian flu have yet been reported in the United States.

“Demand far exceeded the supply, probably because the avian flu has been publicized very heavily, and even though this has nothing to do with it, people were very sensitive to it,” Downing said.

In the past, Downing said, Student Health would overstock on flu vaccinations, send leftover shots back to the supply company and subsequently be reimbursed. Because supply companies will no longer reimburse Student Health for returning unused shots, Downing said, campus pharmacists must now carefully estimate how much vaccine to order in advance.

“We used to be able to send extras back and be reimbursed, but, in their quest [for profit, companies] don’t allow that now,” Downing said. “We can’t afford to overstock due to budget cuts. If we could overstock, it would be very easy. We’re very sorry about that.”

While only certain individuals may receive flu shots at Student Health from now on, other places in Santa Barbara and Goleta will continue to offer $10 vaccinations to the general public.

Those still seeking flu shots can attend the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital’s vaccination clinic on Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., located at 351 S. Patterson Ave. The Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic, located at 215 Pesetas Ln., will also have flu shots available from 1 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 11.

Other places and times to get vaccinated include the Santa Barbara Medical Foundation’s Hitchcock Branch, located at 51 Hitchcock Way, on Nov. 12 and 19 from 9 a.m. to noon, and the Sansum Clinic, located at 317 W. Pueblo St., on Nov. 11 and 18 from 1 to 6 p.m.