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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Flu shot kickoff delayed after vaccine shipments don’t arrive on time

Long lines were expected at the UF Student Health Care Center on Friday, but the annual flu kick-off has been postponed.

Shipments containing between 8,000 and 9,000 flu shots will not arrive on time to help the UF community combat the flu.

Catherine Seemann, communications coordinator for SHCC, said it is unfortunate that the supply of flu shots has been delayed.

“Unfortunately, we can’t control when shipment comes in,” she said. “The most information we have right now is we’ll likely have them for mid-October.”

This will be the third consecutive year the SHCC has hosted a kick-off event for flu shots. In 2012, 500 vaccinations were given in the first day the flu shots were available. The number increased to 1,008 flu shots in 2013. Seemann said the center is aiming to give 1,500 vaccinations during the re-scheduled kickoff event.

“We see a huge drop-off in students who receive vaccinations after the Thanksgiving holiday,” she said. “We try to get them vaccinated early before the flu starts circulating.”

Flu season peaks between January and February, Seemann said. The SHCC ran out of flu shots last January.

The center is conscious of the health fee that students pay, however, every flu shot that is not used is destroyed, which is a waste of fee dollars, Seemann said.

The Alachua County Health Department will also be on campus for the first time, offering the nasal spray FluMist.

Paul Myers, administrator of the department, said the benefits of FluMist make it a better option for anyone afraid of shots.

“FluMist prevents against the flu and infections,” he said. “That means it’s also preventing against the spreading of the flu.”

A date has not been set for the arrival of FluMist on campus, as the department does not want to compete with the SHCC.

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The option of a flu shot or FluMist would give more students a chance to receive the flu vaccine, Myers said. 

Camille Jamshidi, a 20-year-old UF Spanish junior, missed out on the chance of getting vaccinated in the Spring semester when the SHCC ran out.

“I saw people getting vaccinated but by the time I thought about actually getting it, it was too late,” she said.

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 9/18/2014 under the headline "Flu shot kickoff delayed after vaccine shipments don’t arrive on time"]

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