UCSB has yet to receive any H1N1 vaccines, despite a shipment of over 50,000 that arrived in the county last week.
In the wake of the latest shipment of 50,100 vaccines Friday, public health officials held a vaccination clinic at the Earl Warren Showgrounds Monday. Clinics will continue to be held all over Santa Barbara County throughout the week, including locations in Carpinteria and Santa Maria.
Facing limited supplies, previous clinics had only offered the vaccine to young children or pregnant women. According to County Public Health Dept. Director Scott McCann, however, the new vaccine supplies will provide better coverage for the general population.
“We are able to increase the amount of people we can help as the amount of vaccine we get increases,” McCann said. ”We have enough vaccine to vaccinate children up to the age of 18 now. Last time we got 1,000 people at least, so with the increase in who we can help, we should get a lot more people this time around.”
Despite the wide availability of the vaccine throughout the county, UC Santa Barbara has not received its order of vaccines. Director of Student Health Elizabeth Downing said she is still waiting for 15,000 vaccines.
“I sent e-mails to the local health care department to see what was going on,” Downing said. “I haven’t seen any vaccine yet, but I am still working hard on getting the vaccine to the students of UCSB.”
The H1N1 virus, known colloquially as swine flu, is still prevalent in the county. Four people have been hospitalized with the virus in the last 10 days in Santa Barbara County. As of Nov. 13, the virus had killed three people in the county.
The number of flu cases at the university, however, has declined, according to Downing.
“We have definitely seen a decrease in the amount of cases coming into the clinic over the last few weeks,” she said. “In fact, the amount is going down on the federal, local and school levels. Overall, the flu seems to be decreasing pretty much everywhere, which is a really good thing.”
Even though the school population has not been inoculated, first-year David Badal said he is not concerned by the virus.
“It seemed to be really hyped up by the media when the first cases showed up, because there were so few people that had it, but now that a lot of people are getting it, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal,” Badal said. “I think I actually might have had it at one point when a lot of people in my dorm got, but now I’m fine. It just doesn’t seem like too big of a deal.”