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Message to Employees (Vaccination Clarification)

To Bowdoin Employees,

Thank you for reading my earlier message about Bowdoin’s contingency plans for dealing with the H1N1 virus. In that message, I stated that the College will not be providing an H1N1-specific vaccination for employees, and that employees—particularly those with chronic medical conditions—should contact their primary care provider about obtaining the H1N1 vaccination when it becomes available. I am writing to clarify and explain the reasons for this policy.

While a vaccine for the H1N1 virus is currently under production, it is not yet clear when it will become available. Estimates now range from mid-to late October. When the vaccine does become available it will be provided, at least initially, in limited quantities and targeted to what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls “key populations,” or those most susceptible to the virus. These include:

  • Pregnant  women
  • Household  contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age
  • Healthcare  and emergency medical services personnel
  • All people from 6 months through 24 years of age
  • Persons aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.

Since Bowdoin students fall within the age group described above, the Health Center will be provided with a limited supply of the vaccine for this population. Students with pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma, who are considered at the greatest risk for health complications, will be given first priority to receive the H1N1 vaccine; it will then be offered to all students.

Clearly, a number of Bowdoin employees may also fall within the CDC’s “key populations” described above. That is why we have urged employees to consult with their primary care providers (PCP) as soon as possible about receiving the H1N1 vaccination. Your PCP, who will have access to limited quantities of the H1N1 vaccine, will be in the best position to understand your particular medical condition and to determine whether you qualify for the initial round of vaccinations.

For more information about the H1N1 vaccination, visit the CDC Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm.

I hope this clarifies this portion of Bowdoin’s contingency planning for the H1N1 virus.
Tamara Spoerri
Director, Human Resources
Bowdoin College
3500 College Station
Brunswick, ME 04011
207-725-3838 (p)
207-725-3976 (f)