Mixed Opinions on Swine Flu Vaccine

First ever swine flu clinic was held at UWM.

Mixed opinions emerge regarding how to prevent getting the H1N1 virus despite UWM holding the H1N1 vaccine available to all student and staff for the first time ever. 

Dec. 1, and 2 were big days on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, as for the first time ever the H1N1 vaccine was available to all members of the UWM staff, as well as its students, provided by Norris Health Center.

This was the first time UWM has had enough of the injection to offer the vaccine to all UWM students, faculty, and staff.

The vaccination was distributed on Dec. 1, and Dec. 2, from 9 a.m - 4 p.m in the UWM Union Wisconsin Room. For the members of the UWM community, this shot was provided free of cost as long as a UWM Identification was shown.

Not surprisingly due to this being the first time the vaccine was available for healthy adults above the age of 24, there were, “More staff members than students by a lot,” according to the check-in workers.

There also was quite the healthy wait for those expecting to get vaccinated, with an expected 45 minute, to 1 hour wait for those checking in during the early afternoon hours on Dec. 1.

Two different types of vaccinations were distributed. One was simply given through a needle in the arm, and the other was given through a nasal spray.

Seven to 10 days is how long the vaccination needs to be in the body before it can take effect.

The H1N1 virus, also known as the Swine Flu, has made a widespread attack on the United States since the first known case reported in the country was reported in March 2009 in California.

The first H1N1 reporting in Wisconsin was on April 29th of this year. Since then, 35 deaths due to the H1N1 virus have occurred.

Bryan Howard is an architecture student at UWM who unfortunately has experienced what exactly the H1N1 virus can do to a person.

“I’ve known two or three people who had swine flu, and I’ve actually heard of one person dying because of it, they were close to my family,” Howard said.

Howard felt it was very important to get the vaccine due to what he has to do on campus.

He said, “I’m a teaching assistant, and I teach a class of 40 students. A lot of those people have been going sick all semester in and out, more than I’m used to seeing. So I wanted to do this for my own health.”

Andrea Gratton is a Senior at UWM. She agreed that it was important to get the shot, just simply based on what she has heard.

“Just because you know, you have heard so much about it, it being so bad. It is the flu, and it’s the end of the semester, and I just don’t want to deal with getting sick.”

Some people just don’t see it as a top priority to take the time to go down and get the vaccine though.

UWM Junior Joey Ryan is the son of a nurse, however he doesn’t quite think it’s overly important to get the H1N1 vaccination.

“I just think there are more ways to prevent getting the illness besides getting a shot. Perhaps washing your hands every time you use the bathroom, or there is hand sanitizer all over. You can use that, I think those are other ways to prevent it,” Ryan said.

Milwaukee County is the county to have been hit the hardest with the outbreak. From Aug. 30, through Nov. 24, the county has had 138 cases of hospitalization due to Swine Flu.

During that time, there have also been 1,530 laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1 in Milwaukee County. The next closest county in Wisconsin in terms of total Swine Flu cases confirmed is Waukesha County, with 646.

Milwaukee County is also tied for the second highest death rate due to H1N1 during that window of time, with two deaths.

The first H1N1 vaccination clinic in Milwaukee was held on Nov. 5, 2009 at Sarah Scott Middle School.

Because of the limited number of vaccines available at the time, the State Division of Public Health decided that the first doses of vaccines in the county were distributed to only the residents who met these guidelines:

•  Pregnant women
•  Children ages six months – 18 years
•  Healthcare workers with direct patient contact
•  Caregivers and household contacts of infants under six months of age

It didn’t take long after that before UWM held its first vaccination clinic on campus. Just a week after, on Nov. 12, UWM offered vaccinations to its faculty, staff, and students who met these guidelines:

•  Pregnant women
•  Healthcare students and employees who work directly with patients
•  Individuals who care for children less than 6 months old
•  17- or 18-year-olds who have a chronic medical condition (list below) that places them at higher risk of influenza-like complications

The next day, the County of Milwaukee held its second set of vaccinations, expanding the criteria to include adults aged 19 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions

UWM held its second and third series of vaccination clinics on Nov. 19, and Nov. 23. They ultimately expanded the criteria for members to get it to include healthy individuals ages 17 to 24.

According to the UW-Milwaukee Emergency Information website, this was done because, “many cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza have been seen in these healthy young adults and they often live, work, and study in close proximity, and they are a frequently mobile population.”

Norris Health Center will continue to offer the H1N1 vaccination via scheduled appointments through Dec. 23.


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