ORONO, Maine — A two-day H1N1 flu vaccine clinic at the University of Maine got off to a smooth start Thursday, with about 300 high-risk students getting an injected dose of the scarce vaccine. The clinic, held at the Cutler Health Center, will be open again today, but all available doses already have been assigned.
According to Wayne Maines, director of safety and environmental management at the Orono campus, a total of 800 doses of H1N1 vaccine were available this week for any university students who fit into high-risk categories established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Qualifying conditions include pregnancy and underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or suppressed immune status. Students were required to preregister to receive the vaccine; only about 600 students signed up.
“The students have been extremely responsible about self-selecting on the basis of risk,” Maines said Thursday. About 12,000 students are enrolled in classes at the Orono campus.
The university originally ordered 6,000 doses, Maines said, and planned a much larger vaccine event to be held in the campus field house for all students age 24 and younger. That plan was revised when it became known that only 1,000 doses would be delivered to the campus due to the national shortage.
Of those 1,000 doses, Maines said, 200 have been administered to child care providers at the university’s seven day care centers and to emergency medical crews on the campus. The remaining 800 doses were available to high-risk students.
Remaining doses of vaccine will be reserved for future clinics, Maines said. Additional supplies will arrive at some point, he said, but even the U.S. CDC can’t say when.
“They don’t know, so we don’t know,” he said.
Five UMaine students and two employees have been confirmed to have the H1N1 virus, Maines said, but there has been no large-scale outbreak on the Orono campus.