Flu Shot Shortage Felt on Campus

RAFAEL CORNEJO
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The national shortage of flu vaccinations has strained the private purveyors of the inoculation and possibly endangered those at high risk for respiratory illnesses. And here at GCC, the Health Center has yet to receive its order of 300 doses.

“We haven’t received them [vaccinations] and we don’t know when we will,” said Jessica LoGuercio, an employee of the Heath Center. “We expected to receive them last week.”

The United States expected to receive 100 million doses of the flu vaccination, yet will only receive an estimated 55.4 million doses, according to the Los Angeles County Health Department.

The Chiron Corporation, the primary manufacturer of the vaccination for the U.S., had to destroy its supply in its plant in England. in EnglaeratioChiron Corp. factory in England closed operations as ordered by British health officials, citing possible contamination.

The U.S. government issued requests to the private
medical sectors, asking them
to ration the giving of the
vaccination to those most at
risk.

Adults 65 or older, small
children from six to 23
months old, those with
chronic disease and pregnant
women comprise the
category of high-risk patients.
Seniors account for 95
percent of the 36,000 flu
related deaths the U.S.
sustains annually.

GCC students and staff
who rely on the vaccinations
at the Health Center as their
only means of inoculation
must go without and wait for
the supplies to be
replenished. But this may not
be before the flu season ends.

The vaccine takes six
months to make and the
Chiron factory in England
has been closed for three
months.

“I am greatly concerned
that the health center does not
have flu vaccinations because
the flu season is just around
the corner,” said Margarita
Hirapetian,19, an English
major at GCC. “I hope other
alternatives will be
available.”

The U.S. Food and Drug
administration has taken
measures to alleviate the
need, sending six scientists to
the Chiron factory for the
inspection of the questionable
doses, in hope that some may
be deemed usable.

The concern of a flu
outbreak would be greatly
felt in already crowded
hospital emergency rooms.
And healthcare givers
themselves are at risk if they
have not been inoculated.

“If it turns out to be a bad
flu season and a lot of the
staff gets sick, obviously
we’ll have to close units down
if we don’t have staffing,”
Susan Taylor, nurse epidemiologist
at Providence St.

Joseph Medical Center told
the L.A. Times.

“That will be bad for the
community and a crisis
because patients will not get
hospital treatment.”