Flu Vaccine Demand Increases

Flu vaccinations, which previously were available for all students from the Student Health Center, are now being offered only to high-risk recipients this week.

Currently, flu-mist, the nasal form of the vaccine, is still available, and more shipments of both the nasal form and the shot should be received soon, said John Greene, director of the Student Health Center.

Greene said that after a picture of the flu-shot being given at the Wellness Bash appeared in the Hustler last week, there was a high demand for the vaccine.

"Supplies have dwindled, but the company has promised that we will have additional vaccines by this week," Greene said.

Free vaccinations are still available for all faculty and staff from the Occupational Heath Center at the Medical Center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that people living in dormitories should consider getting a flu shot to avoid outbreaks.

"We want to vaccinate as many people as we can before Thanksgiving break," Greene said. "If the flu is present in an area of the country where many students are from and they happen to bring it back to Vanderbilt, getting a vaccination ahead of time will help break the chain and aide in preventing a potential outbreak here on campus."

Valerie Thayer, an occupational health specialist at the Medical Center, said "the CDC recommends the flu shot for all healthcare workers both for their protection as well as the safety of their patients who are at added risk for serious consequences of influenza illness."

For those who are uncomfortable receiving the vaccination, Greene said individuals can protect themselves from getting the flu by following the general rules of personal healthcare: Get adequate rest, keep a good diet and wash hands frequently.

"The flu is transmitted through droplets, making it easy to pass through shaking hands, so keeping good hand hygiene can definitely help prevent it,"he said.

To receive a flu vaccination, students should make an appointment with the Student Health Center. Faculty and staff may go to the Occupational Health Clinic Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., where flu shots are given on a walk-in basis.

Vanderbilt ID badges are required for eligibility.