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UH athletes given H1N1 vaccinations


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POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009

University of Hawaii athletes were vaccinated with the H1N1 nasal spray vaccine yesterday as part of a state effort to encourage other young people to get the vaccine.

“;They just grabbed me in the student athletic center,”; said junior and football linebacker Aaron Rink, 22, who was treated to a dose of nasal spray vaccine.

Some Rainbow Wahine softball team members showed up for vaccinations at the Stan Sheriff Center, saying their coach had called them.

The H1N1 virus targets young people, but 19- to 24-year-olds—a priority group for the vaccine—have been slow to respond, said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.

They have received only 3.84 percent of the vaccine available to date, a total of 3,518 doses.

Dr. Andrew Nichols, UH-Manoa head team physician and interim director of University Health Services, said many students had left the campus for the holidays before the vaccine arrived.

However, he said the school has several hundred doses now and is trying to get it to as many students as possible before they leave for winter vacation.

;[Preview]  UH Athletes Receive H1N1 Vaccine
 

University of Hawaii athletes got the H1N1 swine flu vaccine to promote the availability of the nasal vaccine.

Watch ]

 

Softball players Stephanie Ricketts of San Jose, Calif., and Kelly Majam of San Diego, both sophomores, had the flu mist.

“;I knew my mom would want me to,”; said Ricketts. “;She's a nurse.

Teammate Alex Aguirre of Temple City, Calif., said she could not have nasal mist because she has asthma. She said she planned to see her doctor for an injection.

Park said the vaccine supply is starting to catch up with the demand for priority groups. Nasal spray expires sooner than the injectable vaccine, so the department has expanded its use for any healthy people ages 2 through 49 who are not pregnant.

Providers still are asked to follow federal guidelines for injectable vaccine for priority groups: pregnant women, those who live with infants under 6 months old, health care and emergency medical services workers, children and young adults ages 6 months through 24 years, and those 25 through 64 with underlying medical conditions.

Park said 471,400 H1N1 vaccine doses had been allocated to Hawaii as of yesterday, and 262,040 doses have either been shipped or are on their way to the 567 providers registered to give vaccinations.

The department set aside 77,460 doses for H1N1 school clinics, which will end early next month, and 42,547 students have been vaccinated.

Parents of college students returning from the mainland for the holidays are encouraged to get them vaccinated here because of problems getting the vaccine on the mainland, Park said.

Although H1N1 is waning on the mainland, Park said there are a lot of infections in Canada and that it is still circulating around the world.

“;It's holding steady at a low level”; in Hawaii, she said, “;but we're not out of the woods. We have to be extra-vigilant. We are a global village now. We need to make sure people keep getting vaccinated.”;