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October 13, 2005

Campus flu shot clinics set

Pitt will offer on-campus flu shots to University I.D. holders through its Student Health Service office.

Dates for the flu clinics are Oct. 25 in the William Pitt Union Ballroom, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and Nov. 1 in the William Pitt Union Kurtzman Room, also 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The cost of a flu vaccine shot is $18 (cash or check only), and shots will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis; no registration is required.

The flu season typically runs from December through March but can start as early as November, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms include a fever higher than 99 degrees, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and headache.

In a typical year, influenza causes 36,000 deaths in the United States and 114,000 hospitalizations, CDC officials say.

In years when there is an influenza epidemic, numbers can climb to over 40,000 deaths and 300,000 hospitalizations nationally. The 1918 flu pandemic, considered the most devastating epidemic in global history, infected approximately one-fifth of the world’s population and killed an estimated 675,000 Americans.

CDC and the Food and Drug Administration urge higher-risk populations particularly to get annual flu vaccine shots.

CDC’s priority groups for immunization are: Children aged 6 to 23 months; adults aged 65 or older; pregnant women; residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; anyone with an underlying chronic condition, and children aged 6 months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy.

Student Health Service typically administers up to 800 flu vaccine shots annually to Pitt students, faculty and staff, according to officials at the health service.

Last year, there was a national shortage of flu vaccine spawned by fear of vaccine contamination at a Chiron Corp. facility in England — the largest U.S. flu vaccine supplier. British regulators shut down the drug company because of potential contamination, according to the CDC.

No vaccine shortages are expected this flu season.

The Pitt flu shot clinics are being held in conjunction with the annual health fair sponsored by Pitt’s Student Health Service.

The health fairs feature information booths on fitness and nutrition, stress management, sexual health, CPR and first aid, massage and yoga, along with a number of free screenings, including cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat percentage measurements.

Food will be provided and prizes will be awarded.

For more information, call 412/383-1830.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 38 Issue 4

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