The H1N1 vaccine is expected to become available, free of charge, through Binghamton University’s Health Services within a matter of weeks.
The vaccine will be available in two forms: a nasal spray and an injection. Officials said the nasal spray, a live vaccine, will arrive first.
The injection, which is a killed vaccine that will be inserted into the arm, is similar to a seasonal flu shot. Since needles are involved, this form of the vaccine is more difficult to distribute, and patients will need to be in a safe area with proper accommodations in case they feel dizzy or faint after the injection.
According to Michael Leonard, medical director for the University’s Health Services, the University has ordered about 14,700 doses for the student body. The target age for the vaccine is 6 months to 24 years, putting most University students into this category. At this point BU is not planning to offer the vaccine to faculty or staff, but this could change depending on the vaccine’s availability.
Doctors and health care workers are predicting people the age of 65 or older will not need the vaccine as their generation has good immunity against H1N1 right now, Leonard said.
“It is odd, because usually those people are the target for the seasonal flu shot, but their higher immunity puts them last in line for the H1N1 vaccine,” he added.
According to Leonard, once the vaccine is received, Health Services will spend two to three days looking over materials in the package and compile a consent form that all students will need to read and sign prior to vaccination.
“The consent form … will tell students everything about the vaccine, such as who made it, what is in it and all the active and inactive ingredients,” Leonard said. “This way [students] can identify if there is anything in the vaccine they may be allergic to.”
According to Mary Yourdon, a communicable disease nurse at the Broome County Health Department, the side effects of the vaccine are generally mild.
“Any side effects would be typically the same as the seasonal flu vaccine, mostly soreness at the injection site for a local reaction,” she said.
Leonard added that the nasal spray version of the vaccine cannot be given to anyone with chronic lung disease or any form of asthma due to its live form.
The University has already cleared a place to store and distribute the vaccines. According Leonard, the vaccine will be delivered in a clinic-style environment.
“Once the vaccine is received, we will make arrangements to administer the procedure in a larger area such as the Mandela Room or someplace in the renovated union,” he said.
Once available, the vaccine will be advertised on campus listservs such as dateline and B-Line. Information regarding the H1N1 virus is also available on the BU Web site at binghamton.edu.