Despite a campuswide e-mail announcing the contrary, UCSB currently remains without any swine flu vaccines.
However, the H1N1 vaccine will be available to students starting this Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Student Health. After roughly a two month wait, Student Health is expecting a shipment of 4,000 vaccines over the weekend, according to the facility’s Public Relations Spokeswoman Aleisa Pfau. The remaining 11,000 doses of the requested 15,000 will arrive at a later date.
The novel H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine, but to be used alongside it.
Under the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control, the vaccinations are only available to UCSB students 24 years of age or younger. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recognized people between 19 and 24 years of age — along with pregnant women and healthcare and emergency medical personnel — as a priority group for vaccinations.
The CDC explained the reasoning for prioritizing 19- to 24-year-olds, which described most UCSB students, in a recent press release.
“[Individuals between 19 and 24 are a priority] because many cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza have been seen in these healthy young adults and they often live, work and study in close proximity, and they are a frequently mobile population,” a press release said.
Moreover, acting Student Health Director Elizabeth Downing said these trends are apparent in the UCSB student population. She also said the facility is attempting to distribute the vaccinations efficiently and quickly before students travel back home for the holiday season.
“Probably 15 percent of the student population has had H1N1 infections this year so far, but many have not, and it would be in everybody’s best interest for students ages 24 and younger to be immunized,” Downing said. “It would prevent students from getting sick and protect their friends and family.”