Vaccine Shortages on Campus
On Friday, October 30, the Garrison-Foster Health Center contacted students it considered to be at "high risk" of complications from H1N1 due to underlying medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes. The College was not able to procure enough vaccines to immunize every high-risk student, so the shots were distributed on a first come, first serve basis to those contacted.
By the afternoon that same day, every flu shot had been spoken for. The health center has placed the remaining students on a waiting list.
There have been about 100 diagnosed cases of influenza-like illness?(ILI) on campus thus far.
Maine, like other states across the nation, received only a fraction of the vaccines it ordered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The state has made it a priority to immunize children under 18 years old. Consequently, the College only received 100 of the 2000 vaccines it originally requested.
The vaccine shortage is a nationwide crisis. The CDC originally projected that 40 million vaccines would be available nationwide at this time. Due to production problems, however, fewer than 30 million doses have been distributed.
President Barack Obama declared on October 24 that the nation is facing an emergency in responding to the H1N1 epidemic.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) published a letter Friday on her blog that she wrote to Secretary of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, demanding answers to why the manufacturing went awry and when more vaccines will be available. Sebelius said on Monday, the vaccine is "coming out the door as fast as it comes off the production line."