Flu information spread at presentation

By Clarence Plank: PNT Staff Writer

Students at Eastern New Mexico University didn’t get the seasonal flu vaccine shots they were expecting Wednesday, but they did get some insight into H1N1 virus.

Student Health Services planned to administer seasonal flu shots to students after an H1N1 presentation. But because of a short supply, a spokesperson said students will have to wait.

Kristin Kuhlmann, director of Student Health Services, said there are nine companies manufacturing the seasonal flu vaccine and five of them are concentrating on producing H1N1 vaccine.

“So that only leaves four of them for the seasonal flu vaccine,” Kuhlmann said. “So less than half the usual production is on-going.”

Kuhlmann said once it arrives, health services will start by giving the vaccine to high risk people on campus — students, faculty and staff at Eastern.

“The CDC is telling us that 99 percent of flu symptoms we are seeing is H1N1,” Kuhlmann said.

Kuhlmann said health services really wants to get the H1N1 vaccine to students as soon as possible. Until it arrives, events like the presentation Wednesday and educational information being distributed on campus are the weapons being used to help students protect themselves.

“It’s more education for the students,” Kuhlmann said. “They have been really good. I’ve really been impressed with our students for coming in and letting us know when they are sick at health services.”

Students were given antibacterial hand gel, aspirin, face masks, and a short presentation on how to know if they have a cold or the H1N1 virus.

Small amounts of the H1N1 vaccine has been sent out to the regional hospitals for health care workers.

“I talked to one of the doctors up in Santa Fe in the immunization program,” Kuhlmann said. “That they are getting them in small amounts now, as the manufacturer sends it, they are making more and more.”

Chemistry graduate student Vindhya Edpuganti said the presentation was very helpful to her and informative about the flu.

“People need to be careful to being exposed to the swine flu,” Edpuganti said. “People need to take all the precautions to keep from spreading it to everyone else by using the hand sanitizers and the face mask.”