H1N1 Update: Oct. 20, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified individuals 24 years of age and younger as high risk for contracting H1N1 influenza. University Health Services (UHS) now has a limited supply of H1N1 nasal spray vaccine available for students in this high risk group.

The nasal spray is a live vaccine. The vaccine virus is attenuated, or weakened, so it will not cause illness in healthy individuals. However, women who are pregnant or breast feeding should not receive the nasal spray vaccine. Additionally, students with the following conditions should avoid the live vaccine:

  • Asthma or chronic respiratory disease
  • Any long-term health problem or disease such as heart disease, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, anemia or other blood disorders
  • Allergies to egg, gelatin or arginine (a protein amino acid)

The H1N1 nasal spray vaccine does not contain thimerosal, a preservative used in the injectable vaccine. Therefore nasal vaccine is appropriate for healthy students who are allergic or sensitive to thimerosal and students who wish to avoid needles.

H1N1 vaccination appointments must be scheduled online through the UHS Web site at http://www.sa.psu.edu/uhs/basics/online_access.cfm. H1N1 vaccinations are free of charge.

The seasonal flu vaccine clinic scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27, has been canceled due to temporary vaccine shortages. An additional date has been added to the flu clinic schedule on Nov. 10 in Heritage Hall at the HUB-Robeson Center. Seasonal flu clinics will also be held Nov. 9 and 11, in Alumni Hall at the HUB-Robeson Center.

Vaccination against both seasonal and H1N1 influenza is recommended for college students. It is possible to contract both the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu since exposure to one does not give immunity to the other. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site provides information that can help students make informed decisions about vaccination at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm and http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htm.
 

Last Updated October 22, 2009