December 6, 2008

Flu shot could help students' grades

An article in the Star Tribune reports on a study from the University of Minnesota that found that students how get a flu shot miss fewer classes and do better on tests and class work.

Here are some of the key findings:
Vaccinated students are:

46 percent less likely to miss a class.

40 percent less likely to botch an assignment.

47 percent less likely to have a bad test.

47 percent less likely to have to go to the doctor.

Read more about the study in the article.

November 1, 2008

U breaks flu shot record- kind of

The University of Minnesota broke the Guinness World Record for the most flu immunizations given in one day on Tuesday, Oct. 28. They gave 11,538 flu immunizations at four different locations around campus.

The 11,538 record smashed the previous record of 3,721. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. said that they gave 7,401 flu shots in one day the week prior to the event, but they never filed paperwork to have the record verified and recorded.

People were offered flu shots or the flu mist on the day of the event. The articles in both the Star Tribune and the Minnesota Daily reporting on the event do not specify whether the people who received the flu mist are included in the final total. In fact, both articles state that the U broke the record for the most flu SHOTS in one day, but actually they should have said flu IMMUNIZATIONS because the flu mist DID count in the final total. This fact is not seen unless you read some of the comments posted under the MN Daily article online. A comment posted by someone in the MN Daily newsroom confirms that the flu mist was included in the total and that they gave out about 800 of them. So, even if the flu mist had not been counted, the U still would have broken the record. But shouldn’t that have been reported in the article? Is it responsible journalism to call the record a “flu shot? record when it is actually “flu immunizations??

Paperwork and other documentation still need to be verified by Guinness before the record is officially set.

October 26, 2008

U attempts to break flu shot record

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, the U of MN will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most flu shots given in one work day. The record to beat is 3,271. The record was set by a hospital in Florida on Nov. 9, 2006.

Flu shots will be offered in four locations on campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Northrop Auditorium Plaza – East Bank

Java City, Moos Tower – East Bank

Hubert H. Humphrey Center, Atrium – West Bank

St. Paul Student Center, North Star Ballroom – St. Paul

Get more information about the event on the Boynton Health Service Web site.

October 19, 2008

Most health workers don't get a flu shot

A recent article in USA Today reports that about 60 percent of health care workers do not get flu shots. The CDC recommends that all health workers get a flu shot, but experiences such as getting sick after recieving the vaccine are one reason that many health workers decide not to get it. While the article does mention that their are "few well documented cases of flu outbreaks caused by health care workers," this issue does raise some concerns. The close proximity of health care workers and patients can allow for the flu to spread easily.

Some hospitals require vaccines and the CDC recommends health care workers be offered free flu vaccines at work so that it is convenient for them to obtain the vaccine.

October 13, 2008

Computer glitch delays delivery of flu vaccine for Minnesota Vaccines for Children program

Kare 11 reported this weekend that a computer glitch will delay the delivery of flu vaccines to the Minnesota Vaccines for Children program. Minnesota Vaccines for Children is a federally funded program that will cover children whose insurance will not pay for the flu vaccine.

Even though the vaccine will be delayed to the program, it is still early in the flu season, so officials are not overly conserned. The news report also mentions that there are actually more vaccines available nationwide than ever before.

Below are the CDC's recommendations for who should and should not get the flu vaccine.
Who Should Get Vaccinated
In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, it is recommended by ACIP that certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, ACIP makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination.

People who should get vaccinated each year are:

Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
Pregnant women
People 50 years of age and older
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
a. Health care workers
b. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
c. Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

Use of the Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
It should be noted that vaccination with the nasal-spray flu vaccine is always an option for healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated
There are some people who should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician. These include:

People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group), and
People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.)