Student Health Services will have significantly fewer flu shots available for students this fall than it had anticipated.
According to the director of Student Health Services, Judith Cocking, the Center for Disease Control has allocated the majority of Eastern’s flu shot order and will use it for high-risk patients such as the elderly.
She said that although she ordered three hundred vaccines in March, she will likely receive no more than one hundred.
“There’s a limited supply and it will be given to the most needy populations. The college population is not one of them,” she said. “We may get half the dose we ordered, and maybe we’ll get none.”
This limited supply is a problem around the country and will likely affect most colleges, according to Cocking.
Last year’s flu vaccine shortage occurred because of unusable imported flu vaccine. Companies in the United States are still trying to increase their production of the vaccine to compensate for the loss of the imported medicine, according to Cocking.
Any vaccines that Eastern does receive will arrive the week of October 24 and will be given out that same week. Students with chronic health problems, such as transplant patients, those with asthma and cardiac patients will receive the vaccines first, Cocking said.
She said that the supply of vaccine should be more abundant next year, and she hopes to eventually increase the number of students who receive flu shots.
In the meantime, she encouraged students to practice good hygiene, such as covering their mouths when they cough and washing their hands with hot, soapy water in order to avoid getting sick.