Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UHS puts H1N1 flu vaccination plans on hold

University Health Service has put on hold its plans for vaccinating students against the H1N1 flu virus until more vaccine becomes available.

In an e-mail message Monday to students on the Ann Arbor campus, Dr. Robert Ernst, UHS medical director, said delivery of the H1N1 vaccine to the U-M is “far from what we had expected at this point.

“But we want you to know the University Health Service has a plan in place to offer the vaccine — at no charge — to all currently enrolled University of Michigan students as soon as we get the vaccine,” Ernst said the message.

Ernst said UHS planned to launch vaccination clinics the week of Nov. 2 with the goal of completing student vaccinations by the end of the fall semester. He said it now looks like UHS will not be able to start those clinics until the end of November.

Regardless of President Obama’s declaration of H1N1 flu as a national emergency, there remains a shortage of the vaccine nationwide. Ernst said UHS and Washtenaw County have received only about 30 percent of the vaccine that was expected by this time. He said he was confident that UHS would, over time, get all the vaccine it needs.

Because of the current limited supply, UHS has restricted the vaccine to those members of the community who need it the most:

• Pregnant women

• Those with certain chronic medical conditions or a weakened immune system as defined by the CDC

• Those who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months of age

• Health care and emergency personnel who have direct patient contact

As more vaccine becomes available, details of clinics will be posted on the UHS Web site.