College students line up for H1N1 vaccine

October 30, 2009 6:52:33 PM PDT
Researchers say H1N1, or swine flu, has taken 1,300 lives and infected an estimated 5.7 million Americans and it has spread to 48 states. However, a big concern today is the growing number of infant deaths.

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The vulnerability of children to H1N1 flu is becoming apparent in the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. So far, 114 pediatric deaths have been confirmed and two-thirds of the infants and children had other medical issues.

"It's an increase of 19 laboratory confirmed pediatric deaths one week to the next," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

The CDC director didn't release new numbers of adult H1N1 cases. However, the agency is releasing what's left of its liquid Tamiflu supply. Tamiflu is given to adults and children to treat flu.

"We are now releasing an additional 234,000 courses of liquid Tamiflu from the Strategic National Stockpile. That's the entire supply from the SNS," said Dr. Frieden.

There is still not enough H1N1 vaccine to meet demand, but the supply gap is closing.

About 16 million doses were shipped last week and 26.6 million doses are available today; that's an increase of 10.5 million doses in a week. It allows clinics like the one at Cal State East Bay to vaccinate 3,600 of its 14,000 students.

One of the big concerns about a college or university is the fact that the campus is not a closed environment. Many of the students have outside jobs, so they're in the workplace part of the week, and some of them have children at home.

"I am concerned about the H1N1 virus. My family, we're just really concerned about me because I'm the youngest in the family," said Cal State East Bay student LouAnn Szeto.

Cal State East Bay has had 10 cases of H1N1 and it's hoping vaccinating even a fourth of its students will put a lid on that number.

"It takes, I think, a couple of weeks for the flu vaccine to be effective, so... we'll have to see after we start doing our clinics this week, and we'll have to follow our numbers and see if they've kind of diminished over time," said Health Services Director Dr. Cathleen Coulman.

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