As the suspension of free seasonal flu shot service on campus continues, the Student Health Center has administered a limited number of H1N1 intranasal vaccinations.

The suspension of the seasonal flu shot service remains in effect because of a nationwide vaccine shortage and an increased demand for the shot this year.

Some of the seasonal flu vaccine doses were distributed to students earlier in the semester, but the Student Health Center stopped distributing the doses in order to maintain a reserve for high-risk situations while it waited to receive more.

“We’ve received approximately 2,500 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine and are awaiting 4,000 more doses from our distributor,” said James Welsh, assistant vice president for student health. “There is a nationwide shortage that is the result of slower production of vaccine by manufacturers.”

The seasonal flu vaccine does not provide protection against the H1N1 strain, but the Student Health Center recommends being vaccinated when the doses become available.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said manufacturers are expected to produce up to 115 million doses of the seasonal flu vaccine for use in the 2009-2010 influenza season. Details regarding the H1N1 vaccine have not been released.

Early CDC estimates of the national college infection rate of H1N1, gathered last month, suggested there are more than 25 cases of infection per 10,000 U.S. students.

Georgetown is seeing numbers consistent with this trend. According to the Student Health Center, about 300 cases of H1N1 virus have been reported since Sept. 1. CDC estimates that nearly 1 million cases of H1N1 virus have occurred in the United States, though the CDC is no longer keeping exact number counts because of the widespread nature of this strain.

In the meantime, the Student Health Center has received and distributed a limited number of H1N1 vaccinations.

“We received 300 doses of the live attenuated intranasal H1N1 vaccine from the D.C. Department of Health,” Welsh said.

The World Health Organiz-ation classifies live attenuated vaccines as vaccines created by using a weakened version of the organism that causes the disease. In this case, the weakened viral strain of H1N1, or attenuated version, was used to create the vaccine that is given as an intranasal spray.

“We administered that [supply] to priority groups designated by the Department of Health,” Welsh said.

Nursing majors in the School of Nursing and Health Studies and members of GERMS have received both vaccines. Although the vaccine is available to these individuals, they are not required to take them.

“We anticipate receiving the injectable vaccine in the coming weeks and will follow the guidance of the Department of Health in providing that to our community,” Welsh said. The Student Health Center is waiting to release the exact details on the amount and how the H1N1 vaccine will be given until later this month.

The Student Health Center reported that in cases of H1N1 virus, most medical experts have reported that the vast majority of people recover quickly.

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