Date: October 4, 2012
To: All U.Va. Parents
From: Dr. James Turner, U.Va. Student Health
Re: Oct. 17: Vaccination Clinic for U.Va. Students
Dear U.Va. Parent:
Your University of Virginia student can be protected against several serious health threats by taking advantage of immunizations offered in cooperation with our private vaccine provider company, Maxim Health System. They will be administering influenza (flu) vaccine and pre-entrance immunizations on Grounds on Wednesday, October 17, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Newcomb Hall. Complete details, including costs, can be found at www.virginia.edu/studenthealth/immunizationclinic2012.html.
Please encourage your student to take advantage of this immunization program.
More specifics about the clinic:
Influenza (“the flu”) can lead to medical complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or ear infections. Students are encouraged to be immunized against influenza annually to prevent an outbreak, which can occur very quickly. With the rigorous demands of college life, even a short illness may cause a setback in studies and hinder academic achievement. College students at high risk of complications from the flu, including those with diabetes, asthma or anyone who wants to minimize disruption of their routine activities during epidemics, should seriously consider being immunized against influenza. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as 2012-2013 flu season vaccine becomes available in their community. Influenza seasons are unpredictable and can begin as early as October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. For everyone, getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout flu season. It’s important to get a flu vaccine every year, even if you got vaccinated the season before and the viruses in the vaccine have not changed for the current season.
Meningitis is a serious and potentially fatal disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and can lead to permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss and brain damage. Meningococcemia (blood infection) can lead to kidney and heart failure and also result in amputation, permanent disability and death. College students are more susceptible because they live and work in close proximity to each other in residence halls and classrooms. Freshmen living in residence halls have a six times higher risk of meningitis than college students overall. Meningitis is passed through such common habits as sharing a drink or cigarette, kissing or through the air via coughing or sneezing.
A safe, effective vaccine is available to provide protection against four strains of meningitis, which together account for 70 percent of meningitis cases. Prior to 1997, vaccination had been delayed until an outbreak occurred. However, new national guidelines have encouraged the use of vaccine prior to the onset of an outbreak. Because the onset of symptoms is extremely rapid and immunity after vaccination can take up to two weeks to develop, it makes sense for students to consider reducing their risk before cases appear.
“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B, one type of vaccine-preventable hepatitis, is a serious liver infection that can cause severe liver damage and can lead to death. Hepatitis B is an infection that is passed through blood and body fluids (sexual contact, sharing of needles or razors, tattooing or piercing, contact sports). Routine hepatitis B vaccination was recommended for all children in 1991. Since 1990, new hepatitis B infections among children and adolescents have dropped by more than 95 percent and by 75 percent in other age groups. The CDC also states that in some settings, the hepatitis B virus can be up to 100 times more contagious than the AIDS virus.
Epidemic levels of whooping cough (pertussis) are sweeping across the country with a few cases already diagnosed in the Charlottesville area. It is expected that some of our students may be exposed in the community. While 70 percent of the University’s undergraduates are already vaccinated with Tdap, others are strongly encouraged to do so at the upcoming vaccination clinic on October 17.
Several other vaccines will be offered during this program and are listed below. This clinic is being held on Grounds as part of Student Health’s preventative health programming.
Vaccinations Available and Costs
If your child is under the age of 18, you will need to complete and sign a consent form that will be available on the Student Health website. Your child will be required to have this to receive any vaccine.
If you need more information about this clinic and the vaccines, please visit the Student Health website at www.virginia.edu/studenthealth or call 434-982-3915 to speak with a nurse in Student Health.
James C. Turner, M.D.
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Last Modified: Monday, 22-Oct-2012 14:34:25 EDT
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