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H1N1 Flu Vaccine Update

A Message to the University Community

Dr. Jane Horton, Director of Student Health and Counseling
and
Dr. Dawn Watkins, Vice President for Student Affairs

January 6, 2010

As the University reconvenes, we want to remind you that the traditional flu season is just beginning, and that the H1N1 virus remains a serious threat, even though it is not receiving the media attention it did in the fall.

We encourage everyone to get vaccinated for both seasonal and H1N1 flu viruses.

The good news is that the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine is now available here at Washington and Lee, with a sufficient supply so that anyone who wants to be immunized can do so. Now is the time to protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated against the H1N1 flu.

The H1N1 vaccine is available to all students at the Washington and Lee Student Health Center on a walk-in basis at no charge. Faculty and staff should call the Student Health Center at 458-8401 if they want to receive the H1N1 vaccine to check on the best time.

In addition, the Rockbridge/Lexington Health Department now has both the H1N1 and the seasonal flu vaccine. The cost for seasonal flu vaccine is $30, and there is a clinic scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 8. You can also call the Health Department at 463-3185 for an appointment. We continue to search for a source from which to purchase additional seasonal flu vaccine for the Student Health Center, and we will let you know if we are successful.

History tells us to prepare for another serious wave of influenza illness this winter. With H1N1 flu declining in many areas, we have a window of opportunity to help prevent the flu from spreading further and causing even more illness, hospitalization and death. The H1N1 flu vaccine is safe and effective, and the best way to protect yourself, your friends and your family from the H1N1 flu.

The H1N1 vaccine is made the same way seasonal flu vaccines are made every year. Extensive testing and monitoring have shown that the vaccine is safe and effective in reducing infection from the H1N1 flu virus. And remember that when you get vaccinated, you don't just help yourself; you help your community-your friends, classmates, coworkers, roommates-by preventing the spread of the flu virus. Fighting the flu is a shared responsibility. If enough of us get vaccinated, we could lessen the impact of, or perhaps even prevent, a third wave of H1N1 influenza in the U.S.

People with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, children, young adults, caretakers of infants and health-care workers are especially encouraged to get vaccinated against H1N1 flu -that includes all college students. We encourage you to get the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines as soon as possible to protect yourself and the Washington and Lee community.