Flu Scare Brings Rise in Vaccine Demand at Health Centers




This illustrated map shows the recent outbreak of the flu virus in the U.S. Chicago Tribune/ MCT.

Influenza vaccinations at Fordham University’s health centers are in high demand since students returned from winter break Monday, according to Kathleen Malara, executive director of Fordham’s health services. Malara said the health centers expected to run out of their vaccines yesterday, but have ordered more expected to be delivered today.

This year’s strain of the flu has reached “epidemic” levels of infection, leading 47 states to declare a health emergency, including New York on Saturday. According to The Wall Street Journal, New York has seen almost 20,000 influenza cases this season.

Malara said that college students may be at increased risk of exposure to influenza due to living in close quarters with potential carriers of the virus, but also said that this strain of the flu does not pose a greater threat to students than to the general population.

To avoid contracting the flu, Malara suggested students wash their hands frequently, covering their faces with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and avoiding any contact with others’ saliva, such as sharing cups or cigarettes.

If a student does begin showing symptoms of influenza, Malara said that they can come into the health centers within 24 hours of contracting it and receive the antiviral medication that may lessen the severity of the illness. Students who contract the flu and live within 150 miles of Fordham are recommended to go home to minimize the contagion of the illness. For those who cannot return home, Malara said nobody will be quarantined, but they are suggesting students with influenza stay in their dorms as much as possible and have friends bring them food.