Protect Yourself: Free H1N1 Vaccine Provided to UCI

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On Nov. 23, UC Irvine will be administering free H1N1 vaccinations to all UCI students, faculty and staff. The vaccination will be made available from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Student Center Pacific Ballroom. All interested are required to bring their UCI identification card to show proof of their UCI affiliation.

Individuals seeking this vaccination will be required to undergo a preliminary screening beforehand to ensure that the person receiving the vaccination is not sick.

The vaccination process itself is anticipated to take less than ten minutes. However, if turnout is significant, it is estimated to take between 20 to 30 minutes.

For students that cannot receive shots on site, wristbands will be distributed that will allow the student to return at a later time that same day.

According to the Web site, http://www.ehs.uci.edu/flu, detailing the event, individuals within the following categories will receive priority: those between the ages of 18 to 24, pregnant women, those living with or taking care of children six months or younger, health care and emergency personnel, and those that are between the ages 25 to 64 with medical conditions that put them at a higher risk for influenza complications.

Information regarding the event has also been distributed via Zotmail, Facebook, Twitter and Student Affairs.

According to Assistant Director of Health Sciences Tom Vasich, UCI has received a stock of 5,000 vaccinations. Of that amount, 2,500 vaccinations were set aside for the first scheduled event that took place on Nov. 19. It was estimated that approximately 1,200 individuals participated.

2,500 vaccinations have been reserved for the event to held on Nov. 23, 2009. Vasich suspects this round will reap an even more overwhelming number. The clinics have been set up to handle approximately 400 to 500 people per hour.

Any remaining vaccinations unused from both events, Nov. 19 and Nov. 23, will be put on reserve for emergency purposes at the Student Health Center.

However, according to a morning edition of National Public Radio (NPR) titled “FDA Reassures Doctors Skeptical of H1N1 Vaccine,” some doctors have expressed their hesitation about the vaccination. The doctors argue that, unlike prior vaccinations, the H1N1 vaccine has not undergone enough preliminary testing. Meanwhile, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assures that the H1N1 vaccine was tested the same way seasonal vaccines have been tested.

The controversy surrounding the H1N1 virus and its vaccine has been overwhelming; many citizens refuse to get the vaccination because of the possible risks it poses.

One of the most problematic issues concerning the vaccination is what the vaccine is comprised of; the shot itself is made up of avian flu, H1N1 and H5N1 flu.

This worries some, for the prospect of being given a shot that offers three different strands of the flu is a terrifying prospect.

Still, UCI advocates the distribution of the shot, and welcomes any and all UCI affiliates to get vaccinated this coming week.

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