Vaccines keep up with beginning of flu season

Your health and GPA may be saved by vaccinations as this flu season commences.

Local healthcare providers do not think the government shutdown will have an affect on flu season this year. Flu vaccinations were dispersed nationwide before the shutdown, allowing the Student Health Center and Enloe Medical Center to continue their annual flu clinics.

Government shutdown inhibits flu outbreak investigations 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are responsible for tracking different strains of influenza viruses, monitoring the causes of flu cases on the national level and producing a counteractive vaccine if a pandemic occurs.

Because of the shutdown, the CDC will be working at a significantly reduced capacity in outbreak investigations, processing of laboratory samples and emergency operations, according to the Department of Health and Human Services shutdown contingency plan.

The shutdown is not a huge threat to public health unless the government is inactive for an extended amount of time, said Jill Cannaday, the nursing supervisor for the Student Health Center.

“They are keeping a finger on the pulse of possible pandemics and outbreaks of different diseases, so without that watchdog it’s possible something could spring up,” Cannaday said. “But I don’t think the impact would be felt right away.”

Flu vaccines were ordered months ago, so public health should not be affected, said Margie Rackley, the program assistant to the director of clinic services at Enloe Medical Center.

Chico State prepares for flu season

The fact that no flu cases have been reported at the Student Health Center yet this fall may be attributed to the increase in flu vaccines given out to Chico State students. This year, 1,300 vaccines were administered among students, an increase compared to previous years.

Many people get vaccinated every year, and health care providers can sometimes pull more people in by promoting a strong campaign, Cannaday said.

This year’s vaccination clinics have been successful so far, Cannaday added.

“We’ve really had a lot of freshman coming up and a lot of them will get off their phone with their parents, and their mom told them ‘Go get your shot!’” Cannaday said, chuckling. “It’s awesome.”

The Student Health Center is offering walk-in flu clinics from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are free for all full-time Chico State students.

Local hospital fights the flu

Enloe Medical Center’s last flu clinic took place on Oct. 10 at Elks Lodge on Manzanita Avenue. About 2,200 flu vaccinations were administered during two flu clinics held by the hospital.

The total amount of vaccines given still fell short in comparison to the allotted 3,000 vaccines distributed by Butte County Public Health.

The county distributes flu vaccines based on how many were administered by the hospital during the previous year, Rackley said. The hospital administered fewer vaccines than normal last year, making this year’s supply lighter than it has been in the past.

“Enloe received 3,000 doses as opposed to the normal 3,500 to 4,000,” said Christina Chavira, a spokeswoman for Enloe Medical Center. Walk-in clinics provided at local pharmacies are more time convenient and generally easier for people to access, so fewer people are coming out to Enloe’s flu clinics, Chavira said.

 

Valerie Teegardin can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.