Flu shot shortages announced

Kayla Wilson

The Lawrence Health Center recently announced that it will not administer flu shots this year, due to errors on the part of the manufacturer. While students are currently unable to receive the flu vaccination on campus, health services director Carol Saunders recommends visiting one of several community clinics or – for out-of-state students – doctor’s offices at home that are offering the vaccinations.
The vaccine shipment order was placed in March, and Saunders had been reassured that the company had the serum in abundance. After placing the order, Saunders called the company many times to make sure the vaccine was indeed coming, as she had dealt with a severe shortage problem the previous year. Each time Saunders called, the company told her not to worry and that they would contact her before the shipment was sent. However, when it came time for the company to deliver the serum, they did not, and it is unclear why. Many other places in the Appleton area and around the country – including local doctors’ offices – are encountering this same problem.
Despite this shortage, immunizations are still available at some community clinics. Shots will be administered Saturday at the Northland Mall. Saunders strongly encourages students to get the vaccinations elsewhere, saying, “It is safe and prudent to get the shot into the month of December.” Saunders further insists that the vaccine is important, “especially for people with chronic illnesses … and immune deficiency problems.”
Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if there will be more flu cases occurring on campus this year, as the strain of the virus is different every year. Since this information can only be learned after the flu season has passed, Saunders strongly recommends obtaining the vaccination, adding that if she does in fact receive some of the serum, it will be available to students.
Having faced the flu shot shortage dilemma two years in a row, the Health Center is currently working on solutions that will stop it from happening again. At present, Saunders is contemplating having a nursing service come in next year to set up a clinic and do all of the influenza inoculations in one day. This could be helpful, especially since larger facilities seem to have a better chance of acquiring the serum. However, the Health Center is still weighing its options. In the meantime, it is important for students – who live in such close quarters with each other throughout the season – to get their flu shots wherever possible.