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Clayton State to offer low-cost H1N1 vaccine

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The University Health Services office at Clayton State University will begin offering the Novel 1A H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) vaccine to local residents for $5, and to CSU's 6,594 students for free, as early as Oct. 12, a school health official said on Friday.

Latrice Barlow, the office manager for the University Health Services office, said 250 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive on Thursday, or Friday, and distribution of the vaccine is scheduled to begin the following Monday.

"We'll be able, pretty quickly, to get more as needed," Barlow said. "We expect that we'll go through the entire first shipment within the first week."

The vaccine will also be available in the University Health Services office, which is located in room 211 of Clayton State's Student Center, on the school's main campus in Morrow. The office is open from 8 a.m., to 7 p.m., on Mondays; 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m., to 2 p.m., on Fridays.

While students will not have to pay any money to receive the vaccine, faculty and staff members, who have not paid their health fee for the fall semester, and members of the community, will have to pay $5 to cover administration costs, Barlow said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's web site, the H1N1 vaccine will be available both as a shot, and as a nasal spray, and it will not prevent a person from catching the seasonal flu. There is a separate vaccine available for the seasonal flu, and the CDC is recommending people receive both flu vaccines.

On its web site, the CDC recommends that the vaccine should be received by pregnant women; health care and emergency medical personnel; people who live with, or care for, infants under the age of 6 months; anyone between the ages of 6 months to 24, and anyone with a weakened immune system, or who has a chronic medical condition.

Barlow said six Clayton State students have been diagnosed as having the H1N1 virus since late August. She added that since infants, up to people in their early 20's, are considered an at-risk group for H1N1, University Health Services will set up a vaccination station inside Laker Hall, Clayton State's only on-campus student housing facility.

"Our main focus will be students and public safety officials, such as ourselves," Barlow said. Some of the more mild possible side effects of the vaccine, in the form of a shot, include redness, swelling and feelings of soreness and tenderness in the area where the shot was administered, as well as muscle aches, headaches, fever and nausea lasting as long as two days after receiving the vaccine, according to the CDC's web site.

Reported side effects of the nasal form of the vaccine include sore throat; a runny nose; nasal congestion; a cough; chills; feelings of tiredness and weakness; wheezing; abdominal pain; diarrhea, and fever, according to the CDC's web site.

The CDC also reports that life-threatening side effects for both forms of the vaccine include rare allergic reactions that begin within a few minutes, to a few hours, of receiving the vaccine.

Barlow said Clayton State's University Health Services office has dispensed

approximately 200 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine over the last month. She recommended that people go ahead and get the season flu vaccine before the H1N1 vaccine is available, to decrease their chances of getting sick.

"You won't have complete immunity to H1N1, but, at least, it will provide some protection," Barlow said.

Anyone seeking more information on the Novel 1A H1N1 Virus vaccine, can call Clayton State's University Health Services office at (678)466-4940, or the CDC at 1-800-232-4636. Information can also be found at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu.

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On the Net:

Clayton State University: www.clayton.edu

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

www.cdc.gov