Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, October 16, 2009

UHS ready to roll out H1N1 vaccine to U-M campus

University health officials are planning to quickly dispense the H1N1 flu vaccine to students, health care workers and others in federally designated priority groups as soon as the much-anticipated vaccine is delivered in sufficient quantities.

A by-the-numbers look at the flu at U-M

20,000: Surgical masks purchased by the Division of Students Affairs to give to students reporting flu-like illness. They will be distributed with self-care information.

5,000: “Coughs & Sneezes” posters distributed across campus. The posters promote covering your cough and washing your hands as protection against the flu.

5,000: Disposable thermometers purchased by University Health Service to provide to students in residence halls reporting flu-like illness.

4,500: “Deposit Germs Here” mirror clings that have been placed in restrooms across campus. The small posters promote hand washing as protection against the flu. A second printing of another 4,500 mirror clings is under way.

1,597: University-affiliated individuals vaccinated against the seasonal flu during the month of September at UHS. Most were U-M students and 500 were vaccinated in a clinic on Sept. 30.

367: Cases of influenza-like illness seen by physicians at UHS, the Ann Arbor campus health service for students.

318: Flu-related e-mail questions answered by UHS physicians and other campus officials since spring. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to send flu-related questions to: fluquestions@umich.edu.

49: In-room meals requested in U-M residence halls by students who reported they were ill with the flu.

40: Hand sanitizing stations placed at Michigan Stadium this season. Hand sanitizer is available near the concession stands in the stadium. Many other campus units also have placed hand sanitizer in the common areas of building all across campus.

0: Cases of influenza-like illness reported among UM-Flint students.

“Our goal is to get the vaccine to everyone in the priority groups by Christmas break,” said Robert D. Ernst, medical director of the University Health Service. He provided an update on the flu during Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Regents on the UM-Flint campus.

Ernst said the first H1N1 vaccine arrived Wednesday and will be used to vaccinate the UHS staff next week. Next in line for the vaccine, as more arrives, will be students and others in designated priority groups as determined by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

He said UHS is laying the groundwork to offer four H1N1 vaccination clinics each week staring in November and continuing through the end of the semester.

Health care workers at the U-M Health System are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine through the Occupational Health Service. Students will be asked to come to UHS clinics, which will be scheduled at various campus locations as well as at UHS. Faculty and staff will be asked to seek the vaccine first through their personal health care providers.

“Getting the vaccine is the very best way to keep yourself from getting sick,” Ernst said.

Ernst told the regents that some of those in the region who have become seriously ill with the flu have been transferred to the U-M because of the health system’s expertise in treating acute respiratory distress syndrome and in the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in both adults and children.

Ernst also reviewed the extensive planning that has taken place since the initial outbreak of the H1N1 flu in the spring by the All Hazards Planning Group, a collection of some 30 people from all three U-M campuses.

An outgrowth of those intense discussions has been an educational campaign that includes posters, mirror cling reminders in restrooms, informational packets in residence halls, a Web site dedicated to the flu and a special e-mail address that members of the university community can use to ask questions.

For additional information go to the U-M flu Web site:
www.vpcomm.umich.edu/flu/