Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Swine flu vaccine to be available at Norris, Patten

After three months, swine flu is still a major source of illness for students at Northwestern.

Taking a step to battle the illness, NU Health Services will host free vaccination clinics at Norris University Center and Patten Gym from Nov. 17 to 19 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be a walk-in, first come, first serve,” said Katie Naliwajko, a registered nurse at NU Health Services. “There will be no waiting lists and no appointments. It will be faster that way.”

Naliwajko said she has never seen an outbreak like this and added she believes swine flu is not going away just yet.

“There was an initial uptick (of the flu) when students started moving in,” she said. “And now, with the colder weather, the flu will continue to spread as long as we’re in the flu season. But the flu is unpredictable, so it’s hard to tell.”

However, there has been concern about a shortage of the swine flu vaccine and the toll the shortage might take on Evanston and its residents. The virus used in the vaccinations is grown in eggs, and the time it takes to grow was underestimated, causing a scarcity of vaccines, Naliwajko said.

“It will be interesting to see how the vaccination campaign works because there is such a shortage,” she said. “The scarcity increases the demand.”

The federal government distributes the vaccinations to states, and states allocate their portion among the local health departments for distribution at municipal clinics and other vaccination sites, such as NU.

“We are going to have to depend on their supply, and whether we have enough of the vaccine during the clinics will affect us,” Naliwajko said.

Although the clinic is first come first served due to the high demand for the vaccine, Naliwajko said NU Health Services encourages those who are not at a high risk for contracting the disease to come on the third day and let those who are at a higher risk inoculate themselves earlier. The criteria for high and low risk persons can be found on the NU Health Services Web site. Both faculty and students must show their WildCARD to be eligible for the vaccination.

Medill freshman Sarah Bowman said she was vaccinated before she came to campus.

“My mom was a nurse and she has a friend who is currently a nurse, so she can get vaccines whenever there’s a new one coming out, so she always gives them to me right away,” she said. “It’s harder for people who aren’t in the know.”

Communication sophomore Royer Bockus was one of the many NU students diagnosed with swine flu earlier this year.

“I never got a vaccination,” Bockus said. “I was scared because of the negative connotation of swine flu.”

Since then, she said, she has realized the importance of maintaining one’s hygiene throughout the flu season.

“Washing your hands is important,” Bockus said. “It’s an airborne disease, so covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze is also something to pay attention to.”

At this point, there have been no serious cases of swine flu at NU because most students are able to take care of themselves, Naliwajko said. However, it is still important to take caution, especially among people with underlying conditions such as asthma.

“People should get vaccinated and wash their hands,” she said. “If you do that, you’ll be able to deal with the recent swine issues.”

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Swine flu vaccine to be available at Norris, Patten